Celebrating Breastfeeding: Even More Amazing Benefits
Breastfeeding Protects Mom
It can protect mom from, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes in later life. In 2009 researchers assessed the health records of 138,681 post-menopausal women and found that with more than 12 months cumulative breastfeeding episodes (eg: breastfeeding three babies for seven months each) would provide the mother with protection from high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Another study done over a 20 year period and completed in 2008 showed that women who had breastfed for at least one month were protected from heart disease. And yet another study of 2,516 midlife women showed that the longer a women breastfeeds for, the more profound the protection from heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, breastfeeding works in a dose-response way to protect the mother.
Breastfeeding Protects Baby
It can protect baby from childhood leukaemia. Researchers in 2004 used a meta-analysis method (reviewing the outcome of many other studies) to measure if there was a link between duration of breastfeeding and the risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) and the risk of acute megaloblastic leukaemia (AML). The results of this research showed that both short-term and long-term breastfeeding reduced the risk of ALL and AML..
Breastfeeding Saves Money (Lots Of It!)
On October 18th, 2012 UNICEF issued a report Preventing Disease and Saving Resources to look at how raising breastfeeding rates could save money through improving health outcomes in the UK. The researchers evaluated 25 different studies on the health benefits associated with breastfeeding and then used quantitative analysis to measure the cost implications of low breastfeeding rates. The results of this research showed that if 45% of women exclusively breastfed for four months and 75% of babies in neonatal units were still being breastfed at discharge from the hospital over £17 million could be saved annually. Also if half of the mothers who currently do not breastfeed were to breastfeed up to 18 months in their life time. (eg: breastfeeding 3 children for 6 months each) this would save more than £31million.
What this means is that breastfed babies are measurably healthier and go to the doctor less. Research done in Scotland in 2004 reviewed 13 GP’s practices and 935 babies and showed that breastfed babies had 15% fewer GP visits than formula fed babies. This not only is better for the baby but also saves the parents money.
Add to this the fact that by breastfeeding a family is not spending money on bottles, sterilisers and formula.The average cost of formula feeding can range from €600 to €800 a year depending on the price of the equipment and formula brand. Adding this cost to the possible increased medical costs it makes good financial sense to breastfeed.