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[afro-nets] Breastfeeding could save lives
- From: "Claudio Schuftan" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Wed, 7 Apr 2010 12:00:46 +0700
(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 World Health Organization says infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life "to achieve optimal growth, development and health." 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<http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/pdf/2009BreastfeedingReportCard.pdf>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
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. Most of the excess costs are due to premature deaths. Nearly all, 95 percent of these deaths, are attributed to three causes: sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS); necrotizing enterocolitis, seen primarily in preterm babies and in which the lining of the intestinal wall dies; and lower respiratory infections such as pneumonia.
Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the risk of all of these and seven other illnesses.
Cost: $10.56 million for each of the estimated 911 children's deaths. Researchers also included the direct costs of health care and parent's time missed from work. They did not include the cost of formula, which is another added cost for moms who don't breastfeed.
There are a lot of factors contributing to low breastfeeding rates in the United States, and moms shouldn't be blamed, because they receive mixed messages and often lack support from the moment their babies are born.
The biggest priority should be to improve maternity care practices. Many hospitals delay immediate urgent skin-to-skin contact between mom and baby, which can make things harder for the newborn to act on its natural instincts to suckle
Moms also need to be better educated about the importance of breastfeeding and they need adequate support<http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/support/helpline.cfm#b>after they leave the hospital in case they run into problems because the newborn isn't properly latching on and therefore not getting enough food.