Mama Knows Breast

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New Study Says Lack of Breastfeeding Costs Lives and Billions of Dollars

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Here are the amazing results of a new study:
If 90% of US families could comply with medical recommendations to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months, the United States would save $13 billion per year and prevent an excess 911 deaths, nearly all of which would be in infants ($10.5 billion and 741 deaths at 80% compliance).
The study was published today in Pediatrics, the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
One of the study’s authors was quoted in a CNN story:
Dr. Melissa Bartick, one of the new study’s co-authors, says the vast majority of extra costs incurred each year could be saved “if 80 to 90 percent of women exclusively breastfed for as little as four months and if 90 percent of women would breastfeed some times until six months.” Bartick is a hospitalist — a doctor who specializes in the care of hospitalized patients — at Cambridge Health Alliance, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and a mother of two.
Bartick and her co-author Arnold Reinhold found that most of the excess costs are due to premature deaths. Nearly all, 95 percent of these deaths, are attributed to three causes: sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS); necrotizing enterocolitis, seen primarily in preterm babies and in which the lining of the intestinal wall dies; and lower respiratory infections such as pneumonia.
Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the risk of all of these and seven other illnesses studied by the study authors.
Bartick calculates $10.56 million for each of the estimated 911 children’s deaths. Researchers also included the direct costs of health care and parent’s time missed from work. They did not include the cost of formula, which is another added cost for moms who don’t breastfeed.
Click here to watch a video interview with the author of the study.

Happy Birthday to This Blog

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Holy cow! Or maybe I should say holy breast milk… I noticed that I just wrote my 500th blog post here. Lo and behold, this milestone coincides with the birthday of this blog. I started writing Mama Knows Breast in 2006, when one of our kids was a newborn. (Archives here).
I’ve seen a lot happen in the four years that I’ve been writing about breastfeeding. I published a book, found other blog-mates who are devoted to breastfeeding and seen countless breastfeeding stories come and go in the news. But one thing remains constant, the Internet is an ever-expanding resource for moms and dads. Our parents certainly didn’t have anything like this when we were kids. And even 15 years ago, most parents didn’t just jump online any time they needed guidance.
The Internet certainly can’t replace the advice of a doctor, nurse, midwife or lactation consultant. And it certainly doesn’t provide the emotional guidance and reassurance that friends and family can sometimes offer. But it does give parents a launching pad to get help. And for that, we’re all very fortunate.
I can only imagine, when our kids are grown-up, how they’ll find our notions of the Internet antiquated. By then they’ll probably be communicating by telepathy. But for now, to readers of this site and my fellow bloggers, thank you for reading this site and sharing your thoughts and ideas. Now… if I just had some cake and a candle… the day would be complete.

New Health Care Law and Pumping Breast Milk at Work

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Thanks to Tanya at the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog for pointing this out… The new health care law establishes a right to pump at work in the entire U.S. Here’s a summary from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, H.R. 3590, on March 23rd and the Reconciliation Act of 2010, H.R. 4872, on March 30, 2010. Among many provisions, the law amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.Code 207) to require an employer to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express milk. The employer is not required to compensate an employee receiving reasonable break time for any work time spent for such purpose. The employer must also provide a place, other than a bathroom, for the employee to express breast milk. If these requirements impose undue hardship, an employer that employs less than 50 employees is not subject to these requirements. Furthermore, these requirements shall not preempt a state law that provides greater protections to employees.

To learn about the laws in your state, click here.