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World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7

By HERWriter
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Wellness related image Photo: Getty Images

This week more than 170 countries will celebrate World Breastfeeding Week. World Breastfeeding Week positively educates, encourages and supports women to breastfeed their children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ʺ75 percent of new mothers, or three out of four mothers, in the U.S. start out breastfeeding.ʺ

UNICEF states, ʺbreastfeeding is directly linked to reducing the death toll of children under five, yet only 36 percent of infants below the age of six months in developing countries are exclusively breastfed.ʺ

Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director, said, ʺWith so much at stake, we need to do more to reach women with a simple, powerful message: Breastfeeding can save your baby’s life. No other preventive intervention is more cost effective in reducing the number of children who die before reaching their fifth birthdays.ʺ

Also, UNICEF revealed, ʺthe benefits of breastfeeding could lead to a 13 percent reduction in deaths of children under five if infants were exclusively breastfed for 6 months and continued to be breastfed up to one year.ʺ

There are economic benefits as well as health benefits to breastfeeding. According to the Office of the Surgeon General, economic benefits of breastfeeding include:
• Per family, an annual $1,200–$1,500 savings (cost of baby formula)
• $13 billion dollar annual reduction in medical and other costs, if 90 percent of U.S. families breastfeed for six months
• Healthier infants mean less health insurance claims
• Less employee time off to care for sick children and higher employee productivity
• Health care costs for newborns are three times lower for babies whose mothers participate in a company’s employee maternity and lactation program

In a statement regarding World Breastfeeding Day, Surgeon General Dr. Regina M. Benjamin said, ʺThe decision to breastfeed is a personal one, and a mother should not be made to feel guilty if she cannot or chooses not to breastfeed. But given the importance of breastfeeding for the health and well-being of mothers and children, we need to do what we can to help mothers who want to breastfeed to do so successfully.ʺ

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.