Today, more mothers are breastfeeding their infants because they are aware of the value of breastfeeding for baby and mother, as well as the risks and costs of not breastfeeding. Research has shown that infants who are not breastfed have more infections, allergies, asthma, digestive disorders and more childhood lymphoma (childhood cancer). Mothers who do not breastfeed have more breast, ovarian and uterine cancers, an increased risk of bleeding after delivery, and more osteoporosis with greater risk of hip fractures later in life.
Adults, who were not breastfed as infants, have more insulin-dependent diabetes, increased obesity, higher cholesterol levels and other heart risk factors when compared to adults who were breastfed as infants. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Hospitals, the financial price of not breastfeeding in America is estimated at well over $3.6 billion each year in healthcare costs for problems and illnesses that could be prevented by breastfeeding.
Susie Amick, RN, IBCLC, LCCE, is a licensed lactation consultant at East Jefferson General Hospital. Please contact the Breastfeeding Center of EJGH at 504-454-4323 for more information on breastfeeding, including classes and support groups. EJGH is a Louisiana Guided Infant Feeding Technique (GIFT)-certified hospital, based on exemplary breastfeeding support.