Health organizations around the world, from international bodies of government to local advocacy groups, are pushing the benefits of breastfeeding. While this is commendable, no study has ever been completed to assess on a regional scale the available policy options and their effectiveness at producing increased breastfeeding rates. It is my contention that five key factors influence the effectiveness of breastfeeding policies in Europe; Acceptance of public breastfeeding, maternity resource commitment, legal protection of breastfeeding in public and business space, a united voice in favor of breastfeeding, and limitations to formula advertisements in hospitals on media outlets. These five factors influence how successfully mothers navigate public and private space as they choose to breastfeed their children. In my effort to assess the contextual factors and policies that create an environment conducive to long term breastfeeding rates I am also interested in discovering a set of factors that do not increase the economic vulnerability of women. The emperical analysis derived from data from the WomanStats Database found that a combination of five conditions; social acceptance of public breastfeeding, maternal resource commitment, legal protection of breastfeeding, united voice in favor of breastfeeding, and laws regulating the sale of formula were all necessary in order to produce higher breastfeeding rates in Europe. The data also shows that when countries pursue these five factors female income disparity is not negatively impacted.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Geography



Date Submitted


Document Type





Breastfeeding, Europe, Public vs Private Space, Income Discrepancy

Included in

Geography Commons