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Breast-feeding could save lives and billions of dollars
The lives of nearly 900 babies would be saved each year, along with billions of dollars saved, if U.S. mothers breast-fed their babies for the first six months of life, a cost analysis says.

Those results are only an estimate. But several experts who reviewed the analysis said the methods and conclusions seemed sound.

"The healthcare system has got to be aware that breast-feeding makes a profound difference," said head of American Academy of Pediatrics.

The findings suggest that there are hundreds of deaths and many more costly illnesses each year from health problems that breast-feeding could help prevent. These include stomach viruses, ear infections, asthma, juvenile diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome and childhood leukemia.

Among the benefits: Breast milk contains antibodies that help babies fight infections; it also can affect insulin levels in the blood, which may mean breast-fed babies are less likely to develop diabetes and obesity.

The analysis studied the prevalence of 10 common childhood illnesses, costs of treating those diseases, including hospitalization, and the level of disease protection other studies have linked with breast-feeding.
A 2001 government report that said $3.6 billion could be saved each year if only 50% of mothers breast-fed their babies for six months. Medical costs have climbed since then, and breast-feeding rates have increased only slightly.

Only 43% of U.S. mothers do at least some breast-feeding for six months, but only 12% follow government guidelines recommending that babies receive only breast milk for six months.,0,2405524.story
Published: 04/05/2010
Dr. Iverson's Comment
It is hard to imagine that only 12% of women breastfeed their baby for the full 6 months. I wonder if that value would change at all if we were a poorer nation. I heard a statistic recently that the average baby during the first two years of life can use 4000 disposable diapers. Given that it takes over several hundred years for them to break down- what are we going to do with all that waste? Again, if we were a poorer nation what would we do?
I’ve had the rare opportunity to visit dozens of developing countries and there is a common thread that isn’t seen here in the USA. Firstly, families in developing countries do not use disposable diapers, and secondly the mother’s breastfeed for much longer than 6 months. Why? Because financially speaking they can’t afford not to breastfeed. Also, with the number of pathogenic disease that is present in non-hygienic conditions, they will need to have their immune systems in top notch. Not only is breast milk cheap, it is packed with immune markers.
Read the statistics above and truly imagine the better health we could have if we just started the first 6 months out correctly. Pass this information on; it is vital to educate.
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