Study: Lack of breastfeeding costs lives, billions of dollars

Posted By on April 5, 2010

The wisdom of the old paths comes back to remind us how much we have to re-learn:

If most new moms would breastfeed their babies for the first six months of life, it would save nearly 1,000 lives and billions of dollars each year, according to a new study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics…. There are a lot of factors contributing to low breastfeeding rates in the United States, and Bartick says moms shouldn’t be blamed, because they receive mixed messages and often lack support from the moment their babies are born….

Dr. Alan Fleischman, medical director for the March of Dimes, was not surprised by the findings of the report. Fleischman, who did not work on this study, says if a new mom is struggling with breastfeeding, she may end up in a situation where “grandmother suggests to stop the silliness and give formula instead.” He believes the mothers and grandmothers of new moms also need to be educated about the benefits of breastfeeding because for their generations, feeding their babies formula was the norm.

You can read the rest of the article HERE.

See also “Study finds breastfeeding reduces risk of diabetes for mums.” Our modern “fast-food” approach to just about everything has hurt both mothers and babies. It’s exciting to see such a big study confirming the fact that babies need their mothers and that the health benefits go both ways!

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About The Author

Jennie is the wife of Matthew and mother of ten children, all of whom keep the household bubbling with life, learning, and levity. Jennie co-founded LAF in 2002 with Lydia Sherman and has been delighted to hear from women all over the world who enjoy their femininity and love to cultivate womanly virtues.

Comments

5 Responses to “Study: Lack of breastfeeding costs lives, billions of dollars”

  1. ladyscott says:

    I agree with the article but urge every mother out there who has suffered from lack of milk supply despite using so many resources, medicines (natural and/or man-made), and tricks to not be discouraged. Our job is to nourish our children the best we can and if breastfeeding isn’t adequate, other avenues must be ventured. I did all I could to continue nursing my daughter and build up my milk supply, but as soon as my fertility returns (despite exclusive breastfeeding it returns 1-3 months after giving birth) my milk dries up FAST. When my daughter lost so much weight her skin looked baggy, I gave up the fight and fed her formula and tried not to feel guilty.

    We live in a fallen world and thus our bodies don’t always work the way God intended. I cried out to the Lord for my milk supply. Instead, He gave me peace about using formula and sustained my daughter’s health and well-being despite her not getting “liquid gold.”

    I shake my head at claims that fertility doesn’t return if one “breastfeeds properly.” Indeed it can and does. I shake my head at claims that every woman can produce enough breast milk. Indeed, many cannot. Just like some women NEED C-sections and some women do not have wide enough hips/birth canals to deliver a baby, some of us have breastfeeding difficulties.

    That all being said, I AM an advocate of breast feeding and breast feeding exclusively and for at least a year. But I am also an advocate of the women out there who cannot because their bodies just don’t provide. You are NOT less of a woman. You are NOT a bad mother. You are NOT an unfaithful Christian. You are NOT destroying your baby.

    God bless,

    Kate Scott

  2. Thanks for the note, Kate! We absolutely do not believe that moms who have problems producing adequate milk are “lesser” moms. The point of posting this study is just to show that, even in our fallen world, God’s design is best. The vast majority of women will be able to breastfeed, but they are not encouraged to at all. I’ve given birth three times in a hospital, and, each time, I was given a “breastfeeding” kit that included a diaper bag filled with samples of formula, plus coupons for more formula! There’s a lot of money to be made in infant formula, and those companies pay obstetricians to promote their products. For moms who experience difficulty producing adequate amounts of milk, I highly recommend looking into alternatives like the protein-rich recipe for homemade infant formula given on Jordan Rubin’s website. Don’t be put off by the raw goat’s milk requirement. You can substitute powdered Meyenberg goat’s milk, which is available inexpensively even at Wal-Mart (way, way cheaper than formula!). I used it as a supplement with one of my own babies and was very satisfied with the results.

  3. ladyscott says:

    Jennie,

    Thank you for the link to the homemade formula. I’ve looked at other recipes and found them either inadequate or WAY too cost prohibitive. I will keep this in mind should my baby due early July need formula.

    I’ve given birth in the hospital twice and each time I too have been given formula and coupons, but breast feeding was highly encouraged, especially when my son was born (he was premature.) However, it is NOT always highly encouraged and I know my particular hospital is an exception.

    Kate Scott

  4. Mrs. Parunak says:

    Kate brings up an important point about the need to love and be gentle with those women whose bodies bear the mark of the fall in this or any other area. In our rush to advocate for ideals, we need to remember that those ideals are not always possible for everyone. Some women really CAN’T breastfeed. However, while it is true that there are a few women who CAN’T, there are multitudes more who DON’T, usually because of lack of information and support. Love for the “can’t breastfeeds” should not mean that we avoid offering help to the “don’t breastfeeds.” Studies such as this one are desperately needed. There are babies out there who are sick or even dying because of our society’s general lack of understanding about breastfeeding. It is vitally important for Titus 2 women, whose God-given role is to teach young women how to love their children, are educated, both in the science of breastfeeding and in the art of loving those who have struggled.

  5. mamalava says:

    I nursed my first two children with no problem. Then the twins came along. They were a little early, but had problems eating and spent 23 days in the NICU. I pumped and tried all I could to get them to nurse. FINALLY, it happened. I was able to nurse both girls.

    Then my asthma acted up and I was told it was okay to take the prednisone. The girls would have problems sleeping for a few days, but nothing major, and I needed to breathe. What they didn’t know, or didn’t tell me (I suspect the former, since they are advocates of breastfeeding), was that the prednisone would make nursing and pumping hurt so badly that I would give it up. If it would have just been for one day, even two, I could have done it. I had fought so hard just to get to nurse them. But the steroids linger and I knew it would be weeks before I wouldn’t be in pain anymore. It didn’t help the situation any that one of the girls wasn’t gaining as she should.

    So, just a warning. Please be aware that meds can interfere in ways that your doctor may not be aware. I’m sad and disappointed, but I’m thankful that I have two healthy babies, whatever way they get food.

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