I want to start off my saying that I realize not all women can or choose to breast-feed their children because of health or personal reasons. I get that and I’m have nothing against those people, as I realize every mother does what she can and what she feels is best for her babies, and every situation is different.
Having said that…
According to the United States Breastfeeding Committee, ” Breastfeeding and the provision of breast milk exclusively for the first 6 months, in conjunction with appropriate foods thereafter, promises the United States improved health of both it’s citizens and the economy.”
A study done by the USDA showed that at least $3.6 billion could be saved if the length of breastfeeding was increased. However, we know that even 3 weeks, even 3 months, even 6 months makes a huge difference in the health of your baby. $578 million is spent per year to buy formula for families in WIC. FIVE HUNDRED SEVENTY EIGHT MILION. Ouch. Could some of these mother’s be breastfeeding? Could the economy be saving millions of dollars?
Just think about that for a minute.
Millions of dollars are spent on conditions that could be preventable by breastfeeding. Millions of dollars are spent on electricity, packaging, and preparation that it takes to make formula.
Let’s just pretend that health isn’t a factor, do you think money has anything to do with people’s decision to breastfeed or not? I mean, formula is expensive, right? And breastfeeding is free.I’m sure there are women who are unaware of the health benefit’s and choose to breast-feed just because it’s cheaper than formula. I get formula samples in the mail all the time. Companies trying to convince me that they have the best formula. The best food for my baby. WIC offers free formula for mother’s if they decide to use it. I would think that cost would have to be something people considered if they were looking into formula feeding, because just like diapers, the price adds up and you can spend up to $1,200 a year on formula.
I don’t know a whole lot about WIC, but I sure hope they are promoting breastfeeding FIRST before offering free formula. Are the women who use WIC services educated on breastfeeding? Do they know the health benefits? Do they know how to breast-feed if it doesn’t come easy? Do they have resources to help them breast-feed successfully if they need it, someone to answer questions for them?
What if we took some of that millions of dollars that we are spending on formula and used it to educate these women and provide resources for them. Would that decrease the amount of formula being used and increase the amount of women breastfeedinng? Would that decrease the amount of money that the economy uses to make formula? Would this help the economy?
Most certainly it would.