April 5, 2010

Study: Lack of breastfeeding costs lives, billions of dollars

Posted: 09:00 PM ET

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(CNN) - If most new moms would breastfeed their babies for the first six months of life, it would save nearly 1,000 lives and billions of dollars each year, according to a new study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

"The United States incurs $13 billion in excess costs annually and suffers 911 preventable deaths per year because our breastfeeding rates fall far below medical recommendations," the report said.

The World Health Organization says infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life "to achieve optimal growth, development and health." The WHO is not alone in its recommendations.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all agree that breast milk alone is sufficient for newborns and infants until they are 6 months old.

However, a 2009 breastfeeding report card from the CDC found that only 74 percent of women start breastfeeding, only 33 percent were still exclusively breastfeeding at three months and only 14 percent were still exclusively breastfeeding at six months.

Dr. Melissa Bartick, one of the new study's co-authors, says the vast majority of extra costs incurred each year could be saved "if 80 to 90 percent of women exclusively breastfed for as little as four months and if 90 percent of women would breastfeed some times until six months." Bartick is a hospitalist - a doctor who specializes in the care of hospitalized patients - at Cambridge Health Alliance, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and a mother of two.


Filed under: Health

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Lynne   April 5th, 2010 9:20 pm ET

American wages and life donot allow the majority of Americans the luxury of that much time off from work. Most of American women donot work for spending money but their checks pay bills and put food on the table. Many men donot make a salary that can completely support the family. In addition, the government does not help families to afford the women this much time off. A woman may have time off, many with out pay and others with a short amount of pay for six weeks. The American wages, and benefits would have to be completely change to be able to take off work for the long period of time or regular Americans would be denied having children

A. Smith, Oregon   April 6th, 2010 1:07 am ET

Here is the back story on this article.

The WHO professor that provided me with this worked in Africa for the WHO (World Health Organization) and supplied me with his horrible experience and showed me the slides of the photo's he took documenting this infanticide entirely caused by Big Pharma.

America's Big Pharma Republican protected Corporations heavily courted the residents up and down the massive continent of Africa.

Promoting thin, shapely women in Hollywood Photographs with their Big Pharma spokesperson's in their concentrated effort to CON millions of African women to take their DRUG which dried up their ability to breast feed their children. Which they passed out for next to nothing in mass quantity's.

THEN those sick, depraved Big Pharma Corporations hawked expensive Baby Formula to these poor African Women who were now unable to breast feed their children.

Unfortunately for hundreds of thousands of African infants who DIED, the Baby Formula required sanitized clean water which the African Women didn't have nor could obtain. They made the Baby Formula with dirty water which in turn killed their infants.

Infant mortality spiked to nearly 50%, all over the Republican led Big Pharma Corporate GREED to make a buck.

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   April 6th, 2010 6:36 am ET

This would be ideal, but times are quite different now and women are torn in all different directions I think. Some are lucky to even go 3 months of it and some not at all. Not all women are the same in this regard.

Ted   April 6th, 2010 11:09 am ET

Through thousands of years women were wives and mothers at the same time providing the warmth of a home, feeding and cuddling the children and running the domestic life like a small business.
I personally appreciate such a wife and mother, because she always had the last word. She was the boss, if she was smart. Take a look at an italian or jewish family, the mother is the number one.

With the liberation of women, (what liberation, you get up in the morning, run to work, smoke, drink, have heart attacks as the men do), many of them forgot their duties as a mother.
Kids grow up on the streets, eat frozen garbage because the mother is busy watching TV or working someplace and cannot take care of them.

Women should decide, do they want a career or a family, she cannot do both efficiently. If she wants a career, then she should not get married or have a partner who agrees not to have children.
I know sometimes it is necessary that a wife also brings in an income, however it should be only as a small addition, not a full job.
Her main job is to be a mother and wife.

Lynne   April 6th, 2010 1:06 pm ET

@Ted That is aw nice fairy tale for the USA 2010. Most mother's have to work because wages have not kept up with the the cost of living in the USA. Let us be realistic. The majority of men cannot support the famiy without the help of the wife. There hasd to be a complete overhaul of the pay scale and benefits program to allow women this time off. The companies in the USA will start screaming how they cannot afford this benefit to women. I am sure those in the Senate and the House would not support this change. It hs always been about the money in the US not the welfare of the people. These companies will support any action to make sure this does not happen. Many will say it is socialism.

Gwen   April 6th, 2010 6:56 pm ET

Ted you're funny.

American society does not support the role of women. They support the exploitation of women breasts, but not their intention. Ted just wants to blame women for one more thing.

Employers need to be pressured to support this important life-giving, health-giving process. Every child deserves the best, and nothing compares to the benefits of breastfeeding.

Jessica   April 8th, 2010 11:34 am ET

I am a government employee, working 40+ hours per week and have been breastfeeding my son since birth. He is now 1.5 years old. It can be done, but you have to be dedicated and you have to have the support. You also have to stand up for yourself and make it a priority.

Ted   April 8th, 2010 12:26 pm ET

I posted the story to see what kind of reaction do I get.
Ladies, you are getting soft, I expected a much more violent reaction.

However I have news for you, in the USA the women are the bosses in the family!!
How many men would buy a car before the wife picks the color? Or a suit before the wife approves the style. Or life insurance??
I could continue with the list.

The problem with the USA is, we spend more than we earn, therefore the monthly paycheck is already spent before you get it. There is no other country in this world where people have so little control over their spending and are so in debt as we are!
Those wives MUST work, because they have to pay the monthly bills they caused years ago!! Why do we have to three cars, five TVs and all that other junk the japanese and chinese make just for us?
Quality of life doesn´t mean to buy everything on the market. We are not equal financially and we should know how much can we efford.

Wife of a friend goes shopping just for fun and is happy when she "saves" $200 on items she did not need. She would have saved $500 if she stayed home and read a book!
This example covers a great majority of our nation, spend, spend and worry about the bill later!

Lesley   October 5th, 2010 8:30 pm ET

I work 40 plus hours per week, but made it a priority to breastfeed my child exclusively for six months. Even when others thought that I was "crazy" I knew what was important for the health of my baby. He has only been sick one time and even at 10 months I am still pumping when I can. It has not been easy, but what is easy in today's world of hectic work schedules and interference? Mother's, I ask you to dedicate and devote this little amount of time to the health of your baby. IT IS NOT ALL ABOUT YOU ANYMORE!!! I think that a lot of mothers try to make everything on their schedule, but once your baby is born it's not anymore. I realize that not everyone can physically breastfeed, but if you are able PLEASE give it a chance.

Jan   October 12th, 2010 2:38 pm ET

Women can work and breastfeed. I did with both of mine for 9 months! Most workplaces will provide you an area to "pump" bottles for the next day! If you really want to, you can, depends on YOU, the Mother! I have to very healthly children and would not change the bonding experience we had for NO bottle formula! People are so concerned about the "poisons" they give their children, then they give them baby formula! When you decide to have a child you need to be committed to do what is best for the child!

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