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Cost Benefits of Breastfeeding - Page 3

Written by Karen M. Zeretzke, MEd, IBCLC   
Thursday, 01 September 2005 00:00
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Communicable Childhood Diseases

Antibody response to oral and parenteral vaccines is higher in the breastfed infant. Formula feeding, particularly soy formula, may interfere with the immunization process. (Zoppie 1989; Hahn-Soric 1990)

Death: Breastfeeding protects against sudden death from botulism. In one study, all of the infants who died were not breastfed. (Arnon 1982)

Globally, breastfeeding has been identified as one element of protection against SIDS. (Mitchell, 1991) One study identified the risk of SIDS increasing by 1.19 for every month the infant is not breastfed. (McKenna 1995) Breastfed infants are one-fifth to onethird less likely to die of SIDS. SIDS is a leading cause of US infant death, impacting nearly 7,000 families per year. (Goyco 1990)

Diarrhea: Breastfeeding for 13 weeks has been shown to reduce the rate of vomiting and diarrhea by one-third and reduce the rate of hospital admissions from GI diseases. (Howie 1990)

Breastfed infants are protected against salmonellosis; breastfed infants are one-fifth less likely to develop this. (Stigman-Grant 1995) Breastfed babies are also protected from giardiasis. (Nayak 1987)

Gastrointestinal Disease: Children with acute appendicitis are less likely to have been breastfed for a prolonged time. (Piscante 1995)

Breastfeeding may reduce the risk of pyloric stenosis. (Habbick, 1989)

Hospitalization: Breastfed infants are less likely to be hospitalized if they become ill and were hospitalized for respiratory infections less than half as much as formula-fed infants. (Chen 1988) Cunningham 1986 reports that formula-fed infants are 10-15 times more likely to become hospitalized when ill.

Breastfed babies are half as likely to be hospitalized for RSV infections; in 1993 about 90,000 babies with RSV were admitted to hospitals at a cost of about $450 million. (Riordan, 1997)

Breastfeeding reduced re-hospitalizations in very low birth weight babies. (Malloy 1993)

In a Honolulu hospital, readmission rates were reduced 90% following the initiation of a lactation program. The drop was seen in dehydration, hyperbilirubinemia and infection. (Lee, 1997)

Necrotizing Enterocolitis: Premature infants fed their own mother’s milk or banked human milk were one-sixth to one-tenth as likely to develop NEC, which is potentially fatal. The incidence of NEC in breastfed infants is 0.012; in formula-fed infants it is .072. In Australia, one study has calculated that 83% of NEC cases may be attributed to lack of breastfeeding. (Drane 1997)

NEC adds between one and four weeks to the NICU hospital stay of a preemie. At a cost of $2000/day, this translates to $14,000 to $120,000 per infant. (Lee 1997)

Even when infants survive NEC, the disease can leave life-long costs via the development of short-gut syndrome and chronic malabsorption syndromes. A Pennsylvania physician has estimated the cost of one year’s at-home IV nutritional support treatment for a child with chronic malabsorption to be $50–100,000. (Lee 1997)

Otitis Media: Conservative estimates of savings for this disease alone range from one-half to two-thirds of a billion dollars if women were to breastfeed for 4 months. The savings estimate for Ohio if half of the mothers on WIC were to breastfeed was $1 million. (Riordan, 1997) Based on these figures, health care provider agencies could, conservatively, save two-thirds of what it spends to treat otitis media.

More than one million tympanosomies are performed yearly in the US at a cost of $2 million. By reducing the ear infections which cause the need for tubes for ear drainage, $2/3 to $1 billion could be saved.

Respiratory Infections: Breastfeeding protects against respiratory infections, including those caused by rotaviruses and respiratory syncytial viruses. (Grover 1997) Breastfed babies were less than half as likely to be hospitalized with pneumonia or bronchiolitis. (Pisacane 1994)

Breastfed infants had one-fifth the lower respiratory tract infections when compared to formula-fed infants. (Cunningham 1988)

Sepsis: Infants receiving human milk while patients in the intensive care nursery were half as likely to develop sepsis, a reason for increased length of hospital stays and provider expenditure. (El-Mohandes 1997)

Urinary Tract Infections: Breastfeeding protects babies against UTIs and subsequent hospitalization. (Pisacane 1992)


Long-Term Effects of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding prevents or lessens the severity of the following conditions.

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Childhood Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Gastrointestinal Disease
  • Heart Disease
  • Inguinal Hernia
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis


Karen M. Zeretzke, MEd, IBCLC lives in
Baton Rouge, Louisiana and can be
reached at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Bibliography

Publications:

  • Baumslag, Naomi, MD and Dia Michels. Milk, Money and Madness, 1995.
  • Cunningham, Allan S MD. Breastfeeding, Bottle-feeding and Illness: An Annotated Bibliography 1986. Lactation Resource Center: Nursing Mother' Association of Australia.
  • Dettwyler, Katherine, PhD and Patricia Stuart-Macadam. Breastfeeding: Biocultural Perspectives, 1995.
  • Lee, Nikki, RN, MSN, IBCLC, ICCE. Benefits of Breastfeeding and Their Economic Impact: A Report. August, 1977.
  • Palmer, Gabrielle. The Politics of Breastfeeding, 1993.

Articles:

  • Acheston, L "Family violence and breast-feeding" Arch Fam Med 1995; 4:650-652
  • Arnon, SS et al. "Protective role of human milk against sudden infant death syndrome" J Pediatr 1982; 100:568-573
  • Baylor, JG and Bahna SL. "Anaphylaxis to casein hydrolysate formula" J Pediatr 1991; 118:71-73
  • Brun, JG et al "Breast feeding, other reproductive factors and rheumatoid arthritis: A prospective study" Br J Rheum 1995; 24:542-546
  • Chen, Y et al. "Artificial feeding and hospitalization in the first 18 months of life" Pediatr 1988; 81:58-62
  • Cummings, SR et al "Epidemiology of osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures" Epidemiol Rev 1985; 7:178-208
  • Davies, HA et al. "Insulin requirements of women who breast feed" BMJ 1989; 298:1357-1358
  • Dewey, KG et al "Maternal weight-loss patterns during prolonged lactation" Am J Clin Nutr 1993; 58:162-166
  • Drane, D "Breastfeeding and formula feeding: a preliminary economic analysis" Breastfeed Rev 1997; 5:7-15
  • Ellis, MH et al. "Anaphylaxis after ingestion of a recently introduced whey protein formula" J Pediatr 1991; 118:74
  • El-Mohandes, A et al. "Use of human milk in the intensive care nursery decreases the incidence of nosocomial sepsis" J Perin 1997; 2:130-134
  • Goyco PG and RC Beckerman. "Sudden Infant Death Syndrome" Curr Prob Pediatr 1990;20:299-346 cited in the National SIDS Resource Center Information Sheet #1
  • Grimsely, Kirstin Downey. "Companies find a cost-saving formula for working moms".Washington Post Biz: The Workplace July 1, 1997.
  • Grover, M et al. "Effect of human milk prostaglandins and lactoferrin on respiratory syncytial virus and rotavirus" Acta Paediatr 1997; 86:315-316
  • Gwinn, ML "Pregnancy, breastfeeding and oral contraceptives and the risk of epithelial ovarian cancer" J Clin Epidemiol 1990;43:559-568
  • Habbick, BJ et al. "Infantile pyloric stenosis: A study of feeding practices and other possible causes" CMAJ 1989; 140:401-404
  • Hahn-Soric, M et al. "Antibody responses to parenteral and oral vaccines are impaired by conventional low-protein formulas as compared to breast-feeding" Acta Paediatr Scand 1990; 79:1137-1142
  • Hoey, Christine, RN, IBCLC and Julie Ware MD, IBCLC. "Economic advantages of breast-feeding(sic) in an HMO setting: A pilot study". Am J Man Care 1997; 3:861-65
  • Howie, PW et al. "Protective effect of breast feeding against infection" BMJ 1990; 300:11-16
  • Hreschyshyn, MM et al. "Associations of parity, breast-feeding and birth control pills with lumber spine and femoral neck bone densities: Am J Obstet Gynecol 1988; 159:318-322
  • Kalwart, HJ and Specker BL. "Bone Mineral loss during lactation and recovery after weaning" Obstet Gynecol 1995; 86:26-32 Kjos, SL et al. "The effect of lactation on glucose and lipid metabolism in women with recent gestational diabetes" Obstet Gynecol 1003; 82:451-455
  • Lucas et al. "Early diet of preterm infants and development of allergic or atopic disease: Randomized prospective study" BJM 1990; 300:387-840
  • Malloy MH et al. "Predictors of rehospitalization among very low birth weight infants" Clin Res 1993; 41:791(a)
  • Mitchell, EA et al. "Results from the first year of the New Zealand cot death study" Breastfeeding Rev 1991; 11:106-114
  • Mothering Magazine "Health News" Fall 1997, pp. 44-45
  • McKenna, JJ and N Bernshaw. "Breastfeeding and infant-parent co-sleeping as adaptive strategies: Are they protective against SIDS?" Breastfeeding: Biocultural Perspectives, chapter 10, pp 265-303.
  • Montgomery, DL and PL Splett. "Economic benefit of breast-feeding infants enrolled in WIC" Am J Diet Assoc 1997; 97:379-385
  • Nayak, N et al. "Specific secretory IgA in the milk of giardia lamblia infected and uninfected women" J Infect Dis 1987 155:724-730
  • Pisacane, A et al. "Breastfeeding and acute appendicitis" BMJ 1995; 310:836-837
  • Pisacane A et al.. "Breastfeeding and acute lower respiratory infection" Acta Paediatr 1994; 83:714-718
  • Pisacane, A et al. "Iron status in breastfed infants" J Pediatr 1995; 127:429-431
  • Rosenblatt, KA et al. "Prolonged lactation and endometrial cancer" Int J Epidemiol 1995; 24:499-503
  • Riordan, Jan, EdD, RN, FAAN. "The cost of not breastfeeding: A commentary". J Hum Lact 1997; 13(2)93-97
  • Sigman-Grant, M. "Confirmation of Breastfeeding as a protective factor from salmonellosis in Pennsylvania infants" FASEB J Abstr: Part 1 Vol 9(7) 1995:A183
  • Smith, Julie. "The economics of breastfeeding" Australian Financial Review 7/24/97.
  • Tuttle, CR and KG Dewey. "Potential cost savings for Medi-Cal, AFDC, Food Stamps and WIC programs associated with increasing breastfeeding among low-income women in California" Am J Diet Assoc 1996; 96:885-890)
  • Ware, Julie MD, IBCLC and Christine Hoey, RN, IBCLC. "Revised abstract: economic advantages of breastfeeding is an HMO situation". ABM News and Views 1997; 3(1)3.
  • Zoppie, G et al. "Response to RIT 4237 oral rotavirus vaccine in human milk, adapted -and soy formula fed infants" Acta Paeditr Scand 1989; 78:759-762.

Presentations

  • Hoey, Christine, RN, IBCLC. "Cost Analysis of Breastfeeding and the Lactation Consultant within the HMO Setting" Presented at the International Lactation Consultants Association 1996 Conference in Kansas City, MO.
  • Labbok, Miriam, MD, MPH. "The Real Cost of Not Breastfeeding" Presented at the La Leche League International conference in Washington DC, July 4, 1997. Draft article submitted for journal publication Cost Effectiveness of Breastfeeding in the U.S.: The Forgotten Woman's and Children's Preventive Health Issue published in the conference syllabus, pp 23-32.
  • Labbok, Miriam, MD, MPH. "Models for Cost Savings Associated with Breastfeeding" presented July 14, 1995, at the International Lactation Consultant Association Conference in Scottsdale, AR. Conference syllabus, pp 23-24.
  • Webster, Bernie, SRN SCM HVDip. "Medical and Financial Costs Associated with Artificial Infant Feeding" presented August 11, 1997, at the International Lactation Consultant Association Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. Conference syllabus p. 57 and Handouts.


Pathways Issue 7 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #07.

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