Breastfeeding can reduce maternal, child mortality in the U.S., study finds

Breastfeeding, long considered solely in terms of children’s health, has a much larger impact on women’s health than previously thought, according to a new study.

Researchers found that suboptimal breastfeeding has a substantial impact on both maternal and pediatric health outcomes and costs. Supporting women to help them meet optimal breastfeeding targets – defined as exclusive for the first six months and continued as foods are introduced to the the first birthday – would prevent deaths in mothers and children.

“We should encourage women to breastfeed because it supports women’s health, it is not just about being better mothers, it is to help women take care of themselves,” Melissa Bartick, an internist at Harvard Medical School and one of the researchers involved with the study, told Humanosphere.

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