Breastfeeding Saves Lives

Even though I am an RN and a certified breastfeeding educator, I never realized that breastfeeding could be so difficult or so rewarding. Since Selah was born in February I am happy to say that she has only received breastmilk. I encourage any woman who experiences early feeding problems (we did — Selah was “tongue-tied” which interfered with her ability to latch) to get help from an experienced lactation consultant as early as possible! I would have been completely lost if it weren’t for the help of our community breastfeeding clinic Milkworks

There is no substitute for breastmilk and don’t believe the formula companies who will tell you differently. Nothing compares to having your little one pull away from the breast briefly during a feeding, look up at you, scrunch up her nose and smile! 

Want more evidence? The following is reprinted from “Child Care Exchange” the Early Childhood Education Daily Newsletter (thanks to my friend Deb for sharing!). 

Breastfeedng Saves Lives
April 7, 2010 

Color is my daylong obsession, joy, and torment.
-Claude Monet

“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.”
As we celebrate World Health Day today, we should be reminded about the importance of breastfeeding by this new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics.  This report further observed…

“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. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Ame rican 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. 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 prima rily 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 studied.”