When you’re expecting a baby, there are numerous decisions that need to be made –everything from diapers to working outside of the home. Right up there at the top of that list is this: are you going to breastfeed your baby or not and, if so, for how long?
Every year more scientific evidence is gathered to prove what many people already know: a mother’s milk is the best food for her baby. In March of 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics confirmed its recommendation that mothers breastfeed for at least a year and “as long as mutually desired”. Mother’s milk alone provides all the nutrients necessary for a baby’s physical and mental development for at least six months, with the added benefit of natural immunity against numerous diseases.
For instance, studies have proven that breastfed babies experience fewer incidents of the following: ear infections; colds and upper respiratory infections; allergies and asthma; diarrhea or gastrointestinal disease; childhood lymphoma; and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Indeed, the rate of SIDS is reduced by over 33% in breastfed babies and there is a 15-30% reduction in adolescent and adult obesity in breastfed vs. non-breastfed infants.
The facts are, the breastfed child has a stronger immune system, leading to an overall healthier and happier child. Of course, it’s not just better for baby, Mom benefits as well with the following:
Yes, the mother that breastfeeds saves her family an estimated $1800 per year that isn’t being spent on formula. In addition, a study published in 2010 in the journal Pediatrics, suggests a $13 billion savings in healthcare and other costs if women would breastfeed exclusively for six months.
Investigators calculated the current costs of 10 specific pediatric diseases for which there is proven protection through breastfeeding. These include eczema, middleear infections, lower respiratory tract infections like pneumonia, asthma, type 1 diabetes and SIDS.
Researchers then estimated the potential savings if 90% of new mothers in the U.S. breastfed exclusively for six months as recommended. They then calculated the direct and indirect costs related to these illnesses. Based on their calculations, the U.S. could save $13 billion per year as well as prevent 911 annual deaths – primarily SIDS, necrotizing enterocolitis (an intestinal disorder seen mainly in preterm infants) and respiratory infections.