Breastfeeding Could Prevent 800,000 Child Deaths A Year Says New Study
We all know by now that breast milk is above and beyond the healthiest and most nutritionally complete option when it comes to feeding your baby.
But poor government policies, lack of community support and aggressive marketing of formula are keeping breastfeeding rates low in many countries, including Ireland.
And this, according to a new study, is an absolute tragedy when research now prove that increasing breastfeeding rates worldwide could prevent as many as 800,000 child deaths a year.
The report, published in medical journal The Lancet, is the most comprehensive review of breastfeeding research ever done, and the results are clear: Breastfeeding is the more nutritious option, it lessens the risk of infection and yields lower death rates than those who aren’t breastfed or are only breastfed for a short time.
As well as this stunning statistic, the report also revealed how about a third of respiratory infections and half of diarrhoea episodes in low and middle-income countries could be avoided through breastfeeding, and in high-income countries, breastfeeding cuts the risk of sudden infant deaths (SIDS) by more than a third.
And it is not only baby's health that improves through breastfeeding. The report also found that breastfeeding reduces a woman’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer. In fact, increased breastfeeding could prevent a whopping 20,000 deaths a year worldwide from breast cancer.
Nigel Rollins from the World Health Organisation, who co-authored the report, points out to the Guardian that breastfeeding success or failure isn’t purely a woman’s responsibility, and that it is a matter that should get much more support and funding on a community- and national level.
“Her ability to breastfeed is very much shaped by the support and the environment in which she lives. There is a broader responsibility of governments and society to support women through policies and programs in the community.”
Professor Russell Viner of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in London agrees with Rollins.
“The benefits of breastfeeding have been widely publicised yet … it’s clear that efforts are still falling far too short and the grave reality is that this is costing children’s lives.”
Well, this just goes to show just how important the right support is when it comes to new mums and breastfeeding.
What do YOU think, mamas? Would YOU have been more likely to breastfeed/breastfeed for longer if there had been more support/help available? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @Herfamilydotie