Food and Behaviour Research

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05 December 2014 - News Medical - Increasing length of breastfeeding could save over £40 million annually for NHS

The NHS could save more than £40 million a year by increasing the length of time that mothers breastfeed, according to research carried out at Brunel University London.

In the first study of its kind in the UK, researchers have shown that the savings would come from a reduction in both common childhood diseases and the risk of maternal breast cancer, which are linked to low rates of breastfeeding.

The research demonstrates that doubling the number of mothers who breastfeed their babies for seven months or more over their lifetime could save £31m annually, while if mothers who breastfeed for one week continued to do so for four months a further £11m would be saved.

Another £6m could be saved if more babies in neonatal care received breast milk, either from their mother or donation.