A study carried out on the cost of breast feeding, published this week in the Paediatrics Journal includes a cost analysis which reveals that the lives of 900 babies could be saved annually, as well as billions of dollars – provided 90% of American women opted to breastfeed their babies during the initial six months of their lives.
The results not only set off a few alarm bells, but also had authorities concerned. However, several reviews carried out by renowned experts in the field confirmed that the conclusions of the study seemed sound as well as the methods employed during the research.
The importance of breast feeding was also reiterated by Dr. Ruth Lawrence who is Head of the breastfeeding section of the American Academy of Paediatrics.
The study also reveals that a large number of infant deaths and even health problems that inflict babies could all be prevented if breast feeding was embraced by mothers in the US. Some of these illnesses include ear infections, stomach viruses, juvenile diabetes, asthma, etc.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Melissa Bartick who is also an instructor and internist at Harvard Medical School said that most mothers seem to underestimate the value of breast feeding, especially the health benefits that it gives the baby. The dire situation in the US even led Dr. Bartick to refer to it as a public health issue.
The study took into account the following factors: the most common child-related illnesses, cost of treating them [hospitalization included] and disease protection linked to breast feeding.