More Moms Breastfeeding Would Save Lives

BOSTON, April 5 (UPI) — If mothers followed the U.S. government’s recommendation of six months of exclusive breastfeeding, some 900 deaths could be prevented, researchers estimate.

Study authors Dr. Melissa Bartick of Harvard Medical School and Arnold Reinhold of the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics, both in Boston, also estimate if 90 percent of new mothers exclusively breastfed — no water, infant food, juice, formula, cow’s milk or sugar water — infants for six months, it could save $13 billion annually, MedPage Today reported.

The study, published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics, also estimates even 80 percent breastfeeding compliance could save $10.5 billion and prevent 741 deaths each year.

Using 2007 dollars, the researchers calculated the lack of breastfeeding cost some $4.7 billion and 447 excess deaths due to sudden infant syndrome alone.

A 2005 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated about 12 percent of U.S. mothers breastfed exclusively for six months, 42 percent did some breastfeeding for six months and 21.5 percent did some breastfeeding after 12 months.

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