A new study from Harvard researchers found breastfeeding for at least the first few months could benefit both baby and mother.
Right now, three out of four new mothers start breastfeeding, but six months later, just over one in 10 are still doing it exclusively.
The Harvard study finds if 90 percent of all mothers breastfed during those first six months it could save 900 lives and $13 billion each year.
Experts say a better support structure for nursing mothers is needed.
They suggest allowing women to breast feed immediately after birth and providing time and space for mothers to pump breast milk while at work.
The study says breastfed babies have a lower risk of asthma, diabetes, diarrhea and ear infections.
It claims their moms are healthier, too.
"The longer a woman breast feeds, the lower her risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and cardiovascular disease in general," Dr. Melissa Bartick said.
Some positive steps are already being taken.
As part of a new policy starting this month, breastfeeding may be considered in whether a hospital receives accreditation.
The new health care law requires large employers to provide private space for women to pump breast milk, and breastfeeding policies may be considered when hospitals receive accreditation.
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