Breast-Feeding Would Save Lives, Money

CHICAGO (AP) - A startling analysis says low U.S. breast-feeding rates are linked with hundreds of infant deaths and billions of dollars in medical costs each year.

It says the lives of nearly 900 babies and $13 billion could be saved annually -- if 90 percent of U.S. women breast-fed their babies for the first six months of life.

The report appears in the online version of the journal Pediatrics, published Monday, and it's only an estimate. But several experts say the analysis seems sound.

The findings are based on evidence suggesting breast-feeding may help prevent many costly and sometimes deadly illnesses. These include digestive infections, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and even childhood leukemia. It's also been shown to protect against ear infections, diabetes and asthma.

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