Breastfeeding Can Save 800,000 Babies – Lancet
How Breastfeeding Saves Babies
In USA, breastfeeding attracts undue attention and for all the wrong reasons. For something as natural as breastfeeding, it sure does evoke all kind of reactions. There is always a raging debate on it breastfeeding is good or bad, or if public breastfeeding should be discouraged or encouraged.
Thankfully and hopefully, public opinion is again swinging towards pro-breastfeeding camp. To help the matters, a new study by Lancet unequivocally endorses breast milk as the food for choice for babies.
In a 2 paper series on breastfeeding, effects of breastfeeding on mother and child have been explored extensively.
Breast Milk Can Save 800000 Babies
A shocking fact has emerged that breastfeeding can prevent the deaths of 823000 children, 20000 mothers and save US$ 300 billion.
Breastfeeding not only nourishes babies but also results in fewer infections, promotes brain development resulting in intelligent babies, protects against diabetes and obesity.
The benefits of breastfeeding are not just limited to babies. Mothers who breastfeed are also less prone to cancer.
Another disturbing trend has emerged focusing the limelight on developed countries like USA and UK. While in poorer countries, most babies are continued breastfed at even at 1 year, the percentage drops down to less than 20% in richer countries like USA.
The study states that the Affordable Care Act, which provides incentives like nursing breaks and insurance for breast pumps can increase breastfeeding by 25% in United States.
Breastfeeding Benefits For An infant
It has been established that breast milk has too many short-term and long-term benefits for a baby’s health to be ignored.
Babies who were breastfed had only 12% risk of death compared to with those who were not breastfed. Other studies show that infants below the age of 6 months who were not breastfed had 3.5 times (in boys) and 4.1 times (in girls) increase in mortality compared to those who received any breast milk.
Children who were breastfed between the ages of 6-23 months had 50% reduction in deaths.
It does not stop here, breastfeeding also protects against diarrhea, sudden infants deaths and respiratory infections. Studies showed breastfeeding could prevent 72% of admissions for diarrhoea and 57% of those for respiratory infections.
Breast milk also shows a lot of promise in protecting babies against diabetes and overweight. It has also been noted that children who were breastfed performed better in intelligence tests.
Mothers Also Benefit From Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding has consistently shown to be beneficial for mothers also. There is a strong evidence to show inverse association between breastfeeding and breast cancer.
Breastfeeding also had positive impact on lactational amenorrhoea, breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis.
A study conducted the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) also points to inverse relation between breastfeeding and maternal heart health.
According to the research, it’s good for a mother’s heart to breastfeed. In fact, mother’s who do not breastfeed have a 30% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than mothers who breastfed for two years or more during their lifetimes.
Also Check : Best Lactation Supplements To Increase Milk Supply
Breastfeeding in USA
USA has a low rate of breastfeeding. But there have been some encouraging signs. The breastfeeding rate is increasing and USA is only 1 of the 2 countries in the world which will see negative rate of growth of milk formula despite being the second largest market.These positive offshoots have been due to many steps taken at all levels.
Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding in 2011 brought greater awareness to this topic. Breastfeeding in public is protected through legislation almost across whole of USA.
In 2012 national health-care legislation included mandatory insurance coverage for lactation counseling and breast pumps.
It also mentioned requirements for employers to provide space and time for breast milk expression (through breast pumps).
A government program covering more than half of newborn babies, providing free milk formula was reformed to encourage women to breastfeed their babies.
How To Increase Breastfeeding Rates?
Breastfeeding had fallen out in favor in the last century. Breast-feeding was associated with poor people and breast milk substitute a sign modernity.
To stem the tide against breastfeeding, in August, 1990, policy makers and international agencies adopted the Innocenti Declaration, which declared that all babies should receive “exclusive breastfeeding from birth to 4–6 months of age [WHO recommendations amended to 6 months in 2001] and thereafter should continue to be breastfed”.
Though, this brought some focus back to breastfeeding, it still suffered from societal norms and marketing tactics.
Many medical, societal, economic and cultural factors discourage mothers from breastfeeding their babies.
In such cases, a concerted effort by the State and health care agencies can change the norms regarding breastfeeding.
Legislations targeting maternity can also help a great deal in promoting breastfeeding. Though laws are in favor of breastfeeding, these laws are rarely if ever applied in unorganized sectors.
It has been seen that enabling mothers to breastfeed at work without any cut in pay have been very effective in reducing absenteeism and improves workforce performance, commitment and retention.
The Road Ahead…
A greater awareness, policy intervention by government and positive messages by Media can bring about a change in breastfeeding attitudes prevalent in USA. It may look daunting but it can be done if all forces join hands together.
Many mothers suffer from lack of information regarding breastfeeding. Here the role of social media plays an important role. Facebook groups comprising of experts as well mothers create a safe environment for mothers to share their questions and problems.
Some of these groups are:
- Breastfeeding Mother-to-Mother Support
- Milky Mommas
- Dairy free diet - Breastfeeding
- Tongue Tie Babies Support Group
- Breastfeeding Yummy Mummies
- Breastfeeding Mama Talk Privately
- Breastfeeding Mums
- Breastfeeding Mamas ( Pregnancy Corner )
- Dairy Queens
- Extended Breastfeeding Support
- Badass Breastfeeders Of San Diego
- Badass Breastfeeding Tucson Moms
- Nourish Village
- Evidence-Based Breastfeeding Support
- Milky♥Mamas Breastfeeding Support
- Come Nurse With Me - Breastfeeding Buddies
- Mama talk and breastfeeding support
- Breastfeeding Support Group
- Breastfeeding Rockstars
- We Support Texas Breastfeeding Laws
- MOO n Cookies Mom to Mom Support
- Central Illinois Breastfeeding Moms
- Breastfeeding Virginia
- Breastfeeding Twins Closed Group
- Breastfeeding Younger Babies and Beyond
- Breastfeeding Center's Mama Chat
- Breastfeeding Tallahassee
- The Gentle Breastfeeder
- twin cities breastfeeding mommas
- Breastfeeding Mamas of the Phoenix Area
- Breastfeeding Your Baby
- Breastfeeding Moms of Northeast Wisconsin
- 518 Breastfeeding Mamas
- Exclusively Pumping Moms PRIVATE GROUP
- Carroll Breastfeeding Mommas
- Fort Polk Breastfeeding Community
- Nursing the Littles
- Forney Breastfeeding Support Group
- Milky Mamas- Breastfeeding Support Group
- NB Breastfeeding Support Group
Author: Marissa Claire
Hi, I am Marissa. I am a wife of a very supportive husband and mother 3 precious kids. Even though my life is not picture perfect, I have too many blessings to be counted. I am an ordinary mom who has been through some tough times.
I have tried to collate the best information available and write personal & real reviews for the benefits of parents who are confused with the plethora of breast pumps available. I have made an effort to steer clear of technical jargons and used layman language which is understood by people like us.
Tags: Baby, breastfeeding, Lancet, Mother
Categorised in: News