could breastfeeding save our nation? ybreastAmericans today are smarter than ever, and yet, when it comes to breastfeeding and its many benefits, we’re falling behind. We’re the only developed country that doesn’t offer paid maternity and breastfeeding in public spaces continues to be a hotly contested issue thanks to the over-sexualization of breasts. If we pushed for wider acceptance, breastfeeding could lead to a healthier, wealthier, and smarter nation.

Mainstream media are finally touting the many health benefits of breastmilk, including its prevention of eczema, pneumonia, asthma, and type 1 diabetes, just to name a few. And for nursing mothers, breastfeeding has been found to reduce the risk of breast cancer and other ailments even years later. Not to mention that the mere physical act of breastfeeding encourages proper mouth development for baby, which means less orthodontia and a host of other benefits down the road.

And what would a nation full of healthier citizens mean? Fewer healthcare costs, of course! A recent study suggested that if mothers breastfed exclusively for six months, the U.S. could save $13 billion a year in healthcare and associated costs (like time off to care for a sick child). That’s an immense savings for our cash-strapped federal government.

Not only would we be healthier and wealthier, but a recent study suggests that breastfeeding can actually improve baby’s IQ. Researchers from Boston’s Children Hospital and Harvard University teamed up to find that each month babies were breastfed, their IQ jumped a percentage of a point, cumulatively leading to a valuable bump in intelligence. Can you imagine what it would do for our national productivity and GDP if our society became that much smarter simply from breastfeeding?

To really capture all of these benefits, we need to make breastfeeding support easy and accessible. One of the services we offer here at Ybreast is Ybreast @ Work, where we partner with companies to educate and advise companies on breastfeeding best practices. It is our hope that more companies will make it a priority to provide breastfeeding employees with the resources they need.

The more government officials understand that breast is not only best for baby, but ultimately for the entire nation, the more resources will be allocated to breastfeeding education and support. As a country, we need to raise awareness and advocate for breastfeeding, so our mothers can focus on nourishing tomorrow’s America.