Breastfeeding saves babies' lives
May 3, 2004
Source: Calgary Herald
Breastfeeding appears to reduce significantly the chances that babies will die in their first year of life, researchers reported Sunday.
An analysis of a nationally representative sample of about 9,000 U.S. babies found that breastfeeding decreased the risk of dying from any cause by about 20 per cent, the researchers reported.
The researchers estimated that about 720 infant deaths would be prevented annually if all American women breastfed their babies for the first year, the researchers said.
"There's already a lot of reasons for women to breastfeed their babies," said Walter Rogan, an epidemiologist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, N.C. "This is one more."
Although other studies have found breastfeeding provides a variety of benefits for babies, including apparently reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, the new study is the first to demonstrate an overall reduction in mortality.