Study analyzes breast-feeding frequency of infants in eight inner-city Philadelphia health centers

March 24, 2016

According to the World Health Organization, breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants. It helps prevent infections of the middle ear and respiratory tract, as well as diarrhea and pneumonia, and might reduce risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

Breastfeeding mothers might experience less bleeding in their immediate postpartum period, return to pre-pregnancy weight faster and regain uterine tone more quickly. Later maternal benefits include potential lower risks of osteoporosis and of both ovarian and breast cancer.

Jane Heinig, Ph.D., at the UC Davis Human Lactation Center and editor in chief of the Journal of Human Lactation, said she not only agrees with the new study findings, but can support them as a result of her center's own work reporting hospital breastfeeding data in California.

"This isn't a feeding decision, it's a health decision," Heinig said. "Differences among ethnic groups are diminished and higher breastfeeding rates are associated with well-informed, supportive policies in place at baby-friendly hospitals."

Source: Journal of Human Lactation