Breastfeeding Studies Point To Health, Economic Benefits

Two recent studies show great benefits to breastfeeding infants exclusively, and for long periods of time. For more information, contact the Couple to Coup…

Amid intense debates about health care over the last few months, two recent studies show great benefits of breastfeeding. A Boston study showed that if 80-90% of U.S. women breastfed their newborns for at least six months, between $10.5 and $13 billion would be saved in health care and other costs each year, and more than 700 lives, mostly of newborns, would be spared.

Another study, in Australia, showed that breastfeeding longer than six months is good for mental health. The study traced 2,900 children for 14 years and said that breastfeeding could help babies cope better with stress and may also signal a stronger mother-child attachment.

“We’ve known about the many advantages of breastfeeding for years,” said Michael Manhart, executive director of the Couple to Couple League (CCL). “And it seems that more and more scientific studies back up these claims all the time.”

The Boston study, carried out in part by Harvard Medical School and carried in the April issue of Pediatrics, looked at ten diseases known to affect children, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, stomach viruses, ear infections, asthma, juvenile diabetes, and childhood leukemia. Some 43% of women do at least some breastfeeding for six months, but only 12% exclusively breastfeed their babies for six months.

The Australian study was conducted by the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort, and was published in the April issue of the Journal of Pediatrics.

CCL, based in Cincinnati, OH, is one of the world’s largest organizations teaching Natural Family Planning (NFP), and has been promoting breastfeeding since its founding in 1971, both for its benefits to mother and baby, and its impact on a woman’s fertility.

The Art of Breastfeeding, published by CCL and authored by Linda Kracht & Jackie Hilgert,examines the science that underlies the nurturing relationship between mother and child, and helps women perfect the process over time. The book can be purchased on the CCL website.

The Couple to Couple League (CCL) is an international, Catholic, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and teaching Natural Family Planning (NFP) to married and engaged couples. Services are provided by professionally-trained volunteers and are provided in the United States and in 23 countries outside of the U.S.