Breast-feeding a child may give him or her a leg up towards the top of the social ladder.
A new study published in BMJ journal Archives of Disease in Childhood on June 24 revealed that children who were breast-fed moved higher up in social class than their counterparts.
"Breast-feeding has lifelong benefits," study author Amanda Sacker, a researcher at the University College London, said to HealthDay. "Breast-feeding not only gives children a good start in life, but also boosts chances of a healthy and successful adulthood. For most women, breast-feeding offers them a simple way to improve their child's life chances."
The World Health Organization says babies should be exclusively breast-fed for the first six months of life, and then receive a combination of food and mother's milk through 2 years of age. If 90 percent of families breast-fed for the recommended 6-month period, almost 1,000 infant deaths would be prevented and $13 billion in annual medical costs would be saved.
In reality, the rate is much lower. In the U.S., about 45 percent of mothers were breast-feeding at six months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also noted that 40 percent of parents gave their infants solid food before they were 4 months old.