The Benefits of Breastfeeding Essay

1355 Words 6 Pages
Identified by the Surgeon General as “one of the most highly effective preventive measures a mother can take to protect the health of her infant and herself,” breastfeeding has begun to take form as more of a public health issue than lifestyle choice.1 There is substantial evidence suggesting breastfed infants have decreased risk of infections, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), celiac disease, childhood inflammatory bowel disease, necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), asthma, eczema, obesity, type I diabetes mellitus, and leukemia.2,3 Although cognitive development comparisons of formula-fed versus breastfed children have largely been inconclusive, a 2007 study found breastfed children scored 5.9 IQ points higher than their counterparts.4 …show more content…
Due to the well-established benefits of breastfeeding, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), World Health Organization (WHO), and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) independently recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, followed by complimentary breastfeeding until one year of life and then as mutually decided upon by mother and baby.2,3 The CDC released provisional breastfeeding data for U.S. children born in 2010, indicating 76.5 ± 1.6% were breastfed in early post-partum, 16.4 ± 1.5% were breastfed exclusively through six months, and 27.0 ± 1.8% were breastfed at 12 months.8 Worldwide, UNICEF estimates only 39% of infants are breastfed exclusively through six months.9 Despite these dismal numbers, both national and global support for breastfeeding has never been higher.3,9,10 Given the medical and economic importance of breastfeeding, it is imperative that continued action be taken to support breastfeeding practices not only through the advocacy of government agencies and other evidence-based entities, but

Related Documents