Increasing Breastfeeding rates will reduce government health costs

How does your state rate on the CDC’s Breastfeeding Report Card?

http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/pdf/2011BreastfeedingReportCard.pdf

Chances are, not well.  Most states aren’t doing a great job at this.

It’s a puzzle as to why, since so many states are having trouble financing Medicaid and WIC programs, and many also have state-sponsored child and/or family health insurance programs.

Breastfeeding is so important to reduce costs for families and for our state governments!  Of course formula provides adequate nutrition, and many babies do just fine on it.  But it’s certainly not ideal, and it definitely costs more money.

So why is breastfeeding important?  Well, here are a number of articles you may peruse for more information (all from very reputable sources):

Why Breastfeeding is Important (US Office of Health & Human Services)

The Economics of Breastfeeding: A Cost/Benefit Analysis (Ph.D. in Parenting blog)

Affordable Health Care beings with Breastfeeding (USLCA)

More Breastfeeding could save U.S. billions (Reuters, citing a study in Pediatrics)

How can we get there?  The answers begin in the articles linked above.  But the big answers, in my opinion, are:

  • Incentivize hospitals to become “Baby-Friendly
  • Get more certified Lactation Consultants into practice, both privately and employed by hospitals/pediatric medical practices/WIC organizations
  • Require medical pediatric training programs (for pediatricians, obstetricians, midwives, and OB/pediatric nurses) to include a minimum amount of course hours on infant nutrition and breastfeeding
  • Restrict marketing by formula companies and force them to be more WHO-compliant, and make WIC organizations only do business with companies in WHO compliance for the marketing of breast-milk substitutes
Unfortunately, breastfeeding is only a ‘money maker’ for those who it saves money: families, health insurance companies, and governments.  I’ve seen some positive changes in health insurance circles (with my last baby, I received a whole book on infant care and nutrition from my insurance company that had very thorough and good information on breastfeeding, that emphasized its benefits).  But as a people (and government, remember, is supposed to be of, by, and for the people) we need to drive the changes we need to see that are best for us as a society. 
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s