Fewer infant deaths for breastfed babies

Fewer infant deaths for breastfed babies

Melanie sent me this study from Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, that says there is a correlation between breastfeeding and lower risk of infant death. I’m no statistician and I don’t understand all the scientific mumbo-jumbo, but the conclusion says:

Overall, children who were ever breastfed had 0.79 ... times the risk of never breastfed children for dying in the postneonatal period. Longer breastfeeding was associated with lower risk. ... Breastfeeding is associated with a reduction in risk for postneonatal death. This large data set allowed robust estimates and control of confounding, but the effects of breast milk and breastfeeding cannot be separated completely from other characteristics of the mother and child. Assuming causality, however, promoting breastfeeding has the potential to save or delay ~720 postneonatal deaths in the United States each year.

The hedge in the conclusion is that they don’t know yet whether there is a direct link to the breastfeeding or whether breastfeeding moms and infants exhibit other behaviors that result in fewer deaths. Of course, this isn’t meant to guilt moms who don’t breastfeed. There are all kinds of reasons why one would choose to breastfeed or not. I’m just offering this as another piece of information to those who are making those decisions.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli