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Breastfeeding is considered to be the key variable for infant health. Consequently, UNICEF and the World Health Organization promote the beginning of breastfeeding within the first hour after birth and recommend to exclusively breastfeed the infant during the first six months. The origins of these modern breastfeeding campaigns can be traced back to the beginning of the twentieth century. Whereas high infant mortality rates traditionally were considered to be a matter of fate and the declining birth rates towards the end of the nineteenth century raised fears about the nation’s future and led to the emergence of an increasing infant welfare movement in imperial Germany. As low breastfeeding rates were identified as a key factor behind the high infant mortality rates, the main objective of the infant care movement was to increase breastfeeding. The paper examines how the context of infant care and infant mortality was constructed and how breastfeeding campaigns in the context of infant mortality, breastfeeding rates and socio-political changes developed during the twentieth century. Thus the paper covers the period from the beginnings of social paediatrics at the beginning of the 20th century, the breastfeeding campaigns embedded into Nazi ideology during the Third Reich, until the declining breastfeeding ratios and the “feeding on demand”-movement in the 1970s as well as the ideological differences between West and East Germany during the Cold War.