Proper Breastfeeding Protects Mothers from Breast Cancer and Other Serious Ills, Study Reports

Proper Breastfeeding Protects Mothers from Breast Cancer and Other Serious Ills, Study Reports
Breastfeeding is not only beneficial for a baby, but for mothers, too, new research reported, protecting them both from serious illnesses — like  breast cancer and heart disease in women — and sparing the healthcare system in the U.S. costs that run into the billions each year. If mothers could breastfeed their babies as recommended for optimal health outcomes — exclusively for six months and then as a supplemental food source for a total of one year – more babies and women would be better protected, the researchers argue, stressing the need for programs that educate and assist women in breastfeeding their children. The results were published online in the journal Maternal & Child Nutrition, in the study, “Suboptimal breastfeeding in the United States: Maternal and pediatric health outcomes and costs.” According to its senior author, Dr. Alison Stuebe, the study highlights the importance of policies that make it possible for women to breastfeed. "Currently, 22 percent of employed mothers return to work within 10 days of birth," she said in a press release. "Paid leave keeps mothers and babies together, which is essential for breastfeeding. Enacting paid family leave will impact the lifelong health of women and children." Stuebe is an associate professor of obstetrics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a researcher of infant and young child feeding at the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute. The study noted that the U.S. ranked 26 out of 29 countries in infant mortality rates, according to 2014 data from the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development database. "Breastfeeding is far more beneficial in preventing disease and reducing costs than previously estimated," added Dr. Melissa Bartick
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