Does breastfeeding reduce the risk of infant mortality?

Last updated: February 20, 2022
Yes. Both studies in this list that examine the question agreed on this conclusion. We identified both studies as literature reviews, which are studies that review and often evaluate the findings of many studies on a question. This gives us more confidence that the answer is correct.
This short answer was generated by aggregating the answers that each of the studies below gave to the question (as indicated by State of K members) and adjusting for source quality and other factors. If key studies are missing or the answers attributed to individual studies are incorrect, the above answer could be wrong. For medical questions, don't rely on the information here. Consult a medical professional.
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Chart summary of 2 studies examining this question

All answers are assigned by State of K users. The label Couldn't Identify means that State of K was not able to determine whether a study answers the question "yes" or "no". This could be due to several factors. One possibility is that a study found some evidence to indicate that the answer to the question is "yes" and some evidence to indicate that the answer is "no". This often happens when a study uses two or more proxies to study the same phenomenon (i.e. firearm sales figures and self-reported firearm ownership rates as proxies for the prevalence of firearms) and the proxies yield different results when looking for correlations with another phenomenon (i.e. firearm-related deaths). Alternatively, the label may be applied if the phenomenon under study (i.e. whether breast milk improves cognitive function) is true for one group, but not another (i.e. true for girls, but not for boys). Yet another possibility is that a study found there was insufficient evidence to reach a conclusion regarding the question. Finally, the full text or abstract of a study may not have been written clearly or was inaccessible. This would make it difficult to determine how a study answered a question.

All labels of Literature Reviews and source quality are assigned by State of K. All labels of High Quality Source are assigned based on whether the publication in which the article appeared was ranked as Q1 by Scimago Institutions Rankings. Certain well-regarded think tanks are also given this label.

Literature Reviews
Although we recommend you consider all of the studies below, we believe the following studies are literature reviews, which survey and evaluate many studies on this question:

SUMMARIES OF STUDIES
Total studies in list: 2
Sorted by publication year
1
Impact of breastfeeding on mortality in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review, meta-analysis, and cost-evaluation
"Sub-Saharan Africa has lower breastfeeding rates compared to other low- and middle-income countries, and globally holds the highest under-five mortality rates. The aims of this study were to estimate mortality risk for inappropriate breastfeeding, prevalence of breastfeeding, population attributable fraction, and the economic impact of breastfeeding on child mortality, in sub-Saharan Africa. The systematic review included databases from Medline and CINAHL. Meta-analysis of mortality risk estimates was conducted using random effect methods. The prevalence of breastfeeding in Sub-Saharan African countries was determined using UNICEF’s database. Population attributable fraction was derived from the prevalence and relative risk data. The cost attributable to child deaths in relation to inappropriate breastfeeding was calculated using the World Health Statistics data. The pooled relative mortality risk to any kind of infant feeding compared to exclusive and early breastfeeding initiation were 5.71 (95%CI: 2.14, 15.23) and 3.3 (95%CI: 2.49, 4.46), respectively. The overall exclusive and early initiation of breastfeeding prevalence were 35%(95%CI: 32%;37%) and 47%(95%CI: 44%;50%), respectively. The population attributable fraction for non-exclusive and late breastfeeding initiation breastfeeding were 75.7% and 55.3%, respectively. The non-health gross domestic product loss resulted in about 19.5 USB$.Conclusion: Public health interventions should prioritize appropriate breastfeeding practices to decrease the under-five mortality burden and its related costs in sub-Saharan Africa."
AUTHOR
Cianté E. Pretorius
PUBLISHED
2020 European Journal of Pediatrics
Literature Review
High Quality Source
Yes
Yes
2
Optimal Breastfeeding Practices and Infant and Child Mortality: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
"AimTo synthesise the evidence for effects of optimal breastfeeding on all-cause and infection-related mortality in infants and children aged 0–23 months.MethodsWe conducted a systematic review to compare the effect of predominant, partial or nonbreastfeeding versus exclusive breastfeeding on mortality rates in the first six months of life and effect of no versus any breastfeeding on mortality rates between 6 and 23 months of age. A systematic literature search was conducted in PubMed, Cochrane CENTRAL and CABI.ResultsThe risk of all-cause mortality was higher in predominantly (RR 1.5), partially (RR 4.8) and nonbreastfed (RR14.4) infants compared to exclusively breastfed infants 0–5 months of age. Children 6–11 and 12–23 months of age who were not breastfed had 1.8- and 2.0-fold higher risk of mortality, respectively, when compared to those who were breastfed. Risk of infection-related mortality in 0–5 months was higher in predominantly (RR 1.7), partially (RR 4.56) and nonbreastfed (RR 8.66) infants compared to exclusive breastfed infants. The risk was twofold higher in nonbreastfed children when compared to breastfed children aged 6–23 months.ConclusionThe findings underscore the importance of optimal breastfeeding practices during infancy and early childhood."
AUTHOR
Mari Jeeva Sanka
PUBLISHED
2015 Acta Paediatrica
Literature Review
Yes
Yes