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New study says breastfeeding could save lives and money

By Cynthia Trowbridge     Apr 7, 2010 in Health
A recent study revealed that breastfeeding a baby exclusively for the first 6 months of its life could prevent over 900 deaths and save the United States $13 billion in health costs.
A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics revealed that if 90 percent of families in the U.S. followed the medical recommendations to breastfeed only for 6 months it would prevent over 900 deaths which most would be infants.
U.S.News and World Report reports 95 percent of the death of infants was the result of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), lower respiratory tract infections (such as pneumonia), and necrotizing enterocolitis, which is a disease that occurs primarily in preterm infants.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reported breastfeeding also lowers the risk factors for childhood asthma, childhood leukemia, type 1 diabetes mellitus, and childhood obesity.
After the birth of a baby nearly 75 percent of U.S. mothers start to breastfeed. At the end of three months only 32 percent of mothers are still exclusively breastfeeding at six months it drops to 12 percent. Only 22 percent are doing any breastfeeding at one year even through the recommendations are to do some breast feeding for at least the first year of the baby's life.
Some of the benefits listed in women'shealth.gov are breast milk contains vitamins and antibodies that help infants from germs and illnesses. Infant formulas cannot match human milk. The milk is easier for the infant to digest. Depending on the brand of formula a mother could save between $1,160 and $3,915 a year by breastfeeding.
More information about breastfeeding can be found at U.S. National Women's Health Information Center.
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