The Economic Benefits of Breastfeeding

The Economic Benefits of Breastfeeding

By Jennifer Saunders Vol . 18, No. 1 / January 2010

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Breastfeeding offers economic benefits for states.

Although the health benefits of breastfeeding are well-established, few budget analysts consider breastfeeding as a health cost-savings strategy. As policymakers look for additional ways to reduce health costs, they may want to consider the economic benefits of breastfeeding. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Services estimates that at least $3.6 billion in medical expenses could be saved each year if the number of children breastfed for at least six months increased to 50 percent, as recommended by the U.S. surgeon general. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. Among babies born in the United States in 2006, only about 43 percent still were breastfed by age six months.

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