Startling results? Breastfeeding saves lives, health costs

Study says babies’ lives, health costs saved if 90 per cent of US women breast-fed for 6 months

The lives of nearly 900 babies would be saved each year, along with billions of dollars, if 90 per cent of U.S. women breast-fed their babies for the first six months of life, a cost analysis says.

Those startling results, published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics, are only an estimate. But several experts who reviewed the analysis said the methods and conclusions seem sound.

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Here’s the citation for the study [link has been updated]:
Bartick M, Reinhold A. The Burden of Suboptimal Breastfeeding in the United States: A Pediatric Cost Analysis. Pediatrics 2010; 125: e1048–e1056.

I’m not sure why this is considering startling news. Following are some of the studies done in the past…

Chen A, Rogan WJ. Breastfeeding and the risk of postneonatal death in the United States. Pediatrics. 2004 May;113(5):e435-9.

Weimer J. The Economic Benefits of Breastfeeding: A Review and Analysis. ERS Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Report No. 13. 20 pp, March 2001.

Ball TM, Wright AL. Health care costs of formula-feeding in the first year of life. Pediatrics. 1999 Apr;103(4 Pt 2):870-6.

Montgomery DL, Splett PL. Economic benefit of breast-feeding infants enrolled in WIC. J Am Diet Assoc. 1997 Apr;97(4):379-85.

And another commentary. Elita at Blacktating points out that ABC’s expert who was commenting on the study has many connections with infant formula maker Nestle.

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