By Kristin Beerman | email
Edited by Jon Bush | email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Breastfeeding can save the lives of nearly 1,000 babies each year, not to mention billions of dollars. Researchers at Harvard analyzed ten common childhood illnesses and the cost of treating them, to several other studies that looked at whether breastfeeding can prevent those illnesses.
They found that antibodies in breast milk have been proven to fight infections, regulate insulin, and even prevent some cancers. They also found breastfeeding for six months could prevent around 900 deaths and would save an estimated $13 billion in healthcare costs and potential lost wages. It's estimated that nearly 50% of new mothers do some breastfeeding, but only 12% follow the government guideline of breastfeeding for six months.
"Women are just not getting the support that they need and people should not be blaming women and women should not be blaming themselves," said Melissa Bartick, M.D., at Harvard Medical School. "We need to do much better for our moms and families in America."
Dr. Bartick says the public needs to provide time and space for mothers to pump breast milk at work because the study indicates the longer a baby gets breast milk, the lower their risk of health problems. Likewise, the longer a women breastfeeds, the lower her risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and cardiovascular disease in general. So, it's as good for mom as it is for the baby.
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