The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding’s Fact Sheet clearly outlines the health and economic importance of breastfeeding, as shown below. For more detailed information and background, including psychosocial and environmental effects of breastfeeding, visit: www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/calls/breastfeeding/factsheet.html
- Breastfeeding protects babies from infections and illnesses that include diarrhea, ear infections and pneumonia.
- Breastfed babies are less likely to develop asthma.
- Children who are breastfed for six months are less likely to become obese.
- Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Mothers who breastfeed have a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
- Families who follow optimal breastfeeding practices can save between $1,200–$1,500 in expenditures on infant formula in the first year alone.
- A study published last year in the journal Pediatrics estimated that if 90% of U.S. families followed guidelines to breastfeed exclusively for six months, the U.S. would annually save $13 billion from reduced medical and other costs.
- For both employers and employees, better infant health means fewer health insurance claims, less employee time off to care for sick children, and higher productivity.
- Mutual of Omaha found that health care costs for newborns are three times lower for babies whose mothers participate in the company’s employee maternity and lactation program.