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Add breast-feeding to the protect-a-newborn checklist. (One Kardashian has)

June 22, 2010 | 10:18 am

InfantNewborns need adults to protect them not just from obvious risks such as car accidents, falls and well-meaning toddlers who want to carry the baby, but also less obvious risks, such as infections. That amounts to more than simply a washing of hands. Everyone might not know this, but Kourtney Kardashian? Well, she might. (More on that later.)

A study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics parses the data on more than 4,000 infants and their risk of infections.

The researchers, based in the Netherlands, write in their conclusion:

"Exclusive breastfeeding until the age of 4 months followed by partial breastfeeding was associated with a significant reduction of respiratory and gastrointestinal infectious diseases in infants. Exclusive breastfeeding until the age of 6 months tended to be more protective than exclusive breastfeeding until the age of 4 months and partially thereafter."

That is, the researchers couldn't say for sure that 6 months is better, but they're pretty sure it is. The results aren't especially surprising but rather more of an effort to gain data on the benefits of breast-feeding. And you know how we love data ...

The researchers recommend policies that encourage exclusive breast-feeding for at least four months. They're pretty sure six months would be better. 

Here's the breast-feeding study; a guide to breast-feeding, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and an explanation of the Kardashian sister reference.

Apparently, the sisters are famous, and thus people pay attention to them: The Kardashian phenomenon. So, having a baby? Note Kourtney's position; Kim's stance is still a little unclear.

— Tami Dennis

Photo: A mother lends some extra protection. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha

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