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New study says breastfeeding could save 800,000 lives a year

Only 1 in 5 children in high-income countries are breastfed

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New research revealed that if every new mother breastfed her baby, more than 800,000 children's lives would be saved every year and thousands of future breast cancer deaths could be avoided, WTSP reports. 

The study showed that one in five children from high-income countries are breastfed for up to 12 months.

Researchers say breast milk is "personalized medicine for infants." They also say breastfeeding reduces the risk of sudden infant deaths by more than one-third.

For nursing women, breastfeeding also provides protection against breast cancer and can also protect against ovarian cancer and type 2 diabetes.

The researchers say that it is a widespread misconception that breast milk can be replaced with artificial products without consequences. 

Although the researchers continued to speak highly of breastfeeding, they didn't want their research to be discouraging. "We want to encourage breastfeeding but we don't want to see patients in tears who can't do it," said Dr. Jennifer Wu, an OBGYN at Lenox Hill Hospital.

Researchers also went on to say that short maternity leave makes it difficult to continue nursing throughout 12 months.