From Reduced Asthma Risk to Support from Michelle Obama, 2011 is a Banner Year for Breastfeeding
By Jacqueline Tourville
It’s World Breastfeeding Week 2011, so what better time to announce that yet one more piece of important research links breastfeeding with improved children’s health? This time, it’s a new study from the Netherlands affirming that breastfeeding during infancy does indeed reduce the risk for asthma symptoms later on in childhood.
Even First Lady Michelle Obama put the health spotlight on breastfeeding this past spring when she made breastfeeding one of the cornerstones of her Let’s Move! campaign to combat childhood obesity.
And this was no small study. Researchers assessed the breastfeeding history and asthma symptoms in more than 5,000 preschool children, finding that kids who had never been breastfed were more likely to wheeze, cough, have shortness of breath and have persistent mucus than children who were breastfed for six months. In a LA Times report on the study, it was also noted that kids who were breastfed for only short periods of time were also more likely to have wheezing symptoms at 1, 2 and 3 years of age than children breastfed until at least the six month mark.
More to Celebrate
So far, the year 2011 has been a pretty good one for breastfeeding moms and babies. A quick year in review? As a Forbes piece points out, women pregnant when the US Department of Labor passed 2010’s “Break Time for Nursing Mother’s” provision can now take full advantage of the law that requires employers to provide both a reasonable break time and place for employees to pump breast milk. And choosing to breastfeed can now save you more money than ever! A 2011 ruling by the IRS allows breastfeeding families for the first time to use pretax money from their flexible spending accounts to purchase breast pumps and other breastfeeding supplies.
On the health front? Results from a University of Pittsburgh study showed that breastfeeding may lower a mother’s risk of Type 2 Diabetes for life. And in a review of 288 studies on breastfeeding and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) data, researchers concluded that breastfeeding protects against SIDS. Even Michelle Obama put the health spotlight on breastfeeding this past spring when she made breastfeeding one of the cornerstones of her Let’s Move! campaign to combat childhood obesity.
To all this we say: let’s give ourselves a collective pat on the back. Happy World Breastfeeding Week!