Flickr/Caitlin Regan

When making
decisions about breastfeeding
,
women typically focus on their new baby’s health.
However, a
recent study
 suggests that breastfeeding may be a
lifesaver for mothers.

The study, published online by Maternal
and Child Nutrition
, found a notably larger impact of
breastfeeding on women’s health, compared with infant
health.

Researchers discovered that there were
significantly fewer premature deaths in women who
breastfed
as medically recommended
compared to those who did
not. 

The
study reports
that 3,340 premature deaths of women and
children in the U.S. annually were connected to “suboptimal
breastfeeding”— less than six months of exclusive breastfeeding.
The majority of those deaths—caused mostly by heart
attacks, diabetes, and sudden infant death syndrome—were

maternal. 

The study’s lead author,
Dr. Melissa Bartick
,
 spoke about the
effect of breastfeeding on women’s health. 

“It has a bigger impact in terms of medical cost and a
bigger impact in terms of lives saved,” Bartick
told CommonHealth.
“And most of that impact is derived from
encouraging women to breastfeed as long as they can for each
child.” 

What about women who choose not to breastfeed, or have
trouble breastfeeding? Bartick views this as an
opportunity to help all women meet their breastfeeding
goals. 

“Now that we see that this is more of a women’s health
issue, we are taking the fuel out of the “Mommy Wars,” she told

CommonHealth.
“This is not about who is a better
mother; it’s about women being supported to take care of
themselves and about society taking care of women.”



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