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Study finds breastfeeding longer can save lives

The lives of more than 900 babies and billions of dollars could be saved each year in the U.S. if most moms would breastfeed their babies for their first six month of life, according to a study published in a recent edition of the journal Pediatrics.

Federal figures show 74 percent of new moms start breastfeeding. Of those, only 14 percent still exclusively breastfeed at six months.

The study found 911 lives and $13 billion could be saved each year if 90 percent of moms breast-fed their babies for six months. The authors said breastfeeding reduces the risk of dying from several illnesses, including sudden infant death syndrome and lower respiratory infections. Costs are related to health care and parents’ missed time from work.