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# The Value of Breastmilk

Posted by on Apr. 25, 2012 at 2:35 AM
• 4 Replies
1 mom liked this

I thought this was an interesting article:

http://mothering.com/peggyomara/breastfeeding-2/the-economic-value-of-breast-milk

HEALTH CARE SAVINGS FROM BREASTFEEDING

In 1997, nursing professor Jan Riordan calculated a potential US cost savings from breastfeeding of over \$1 billion per year. By 2001, the savings was calculated to be \$3.1 billion a year.

But this is just cost savings. What if we calculated the value of breastmilk production itself?

THE VALUE OF BREAST MILK PRODUCTION

A study in the 1980s, calculated that the one billion liters of breastmilk produced annually by Indonesian mothers would cost \$400 million to replace with formula.

A study in 1993 estimated that if the 51% of Indian women then exclusively breastfeeding stopped it would cost \$2.3 billion to replace their breastmilk with formula.

Here are some surprising numbers from a 1999 study by Arun Gupta and Kuldeep Khanna:

The net value of breastmilk produced in Ghana if breastfeeding were optimal would be \$165 million.

If the value of breastmilk were included, the GDP of Zimbabwe would increase by 1%; the GDP of Mali by 6%.

In Iran, when exclusive breastfeeding increased from 10% in 1991 to 53% in 1996, the cost of importing breastmilk substitutes declined by \$50 million.

In Norway, hospitals paid \$50 for each litre of breast milk in 1992. The 8.2 million litres of breastmilk that Norway produced that year is worth \$410 million.

In 2010, USA Today reported that US hospitals pay a \$3 to \$5 an ounce [or \$96 to \$160 a quart] handling fee for donated milk collected by milk banks.

MAKING SENSE OF THE NUMBERS

Here’s my attempt to make sense of these numbers. I would love to hear from an economist who could expand upon them. These numbers give us a window into what we are worth.

Number of US births per year: 4,130,665

Number of US mothers exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months: 549,378

Average amount of breast milk produced in 6 months: 4500 ounces:140 quarts.

Value of 140 quarts of breast milk at \$96 a quart: \$13,440.

Value of 549,378 women producing 140 quarts of breast milk at \$96 a quart: \$7 billion.

BREAST MILK PRODUCTION VALUE EXCEEDS FORMULA PRODUCTION VALUE

In six months, 13.3% of US women produce breast milk of equal economic value to nearly two  years of formula sales. If 50% of moms were exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months as theAmerican Academy of Pediatrics and Healthy People 2010 recommend, the total yearly economic value of US breast milk would be at least \$28 billion.

by on Apr. 25, 2012 at 2:35 AM
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Replies (1-4):
by on Apr. 25, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Bump

by Platinum Member on Apr. 25, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Holy crap.

by on Apr. 25, 2012 at 11:54 AM
1 mom liked this

There's all this talk about how how time consuming it is to use formula, but damn, it's expensive too.

It amazes me so many people CHOOSE to spend so much money for absolutely no reason, AND give their kids inferior food.

Btw, Randi, your siggy is kind of hysterical. I've seen it a million times before but just now it caught me as really funny lol

by on Apr. 25, 2012 at 11:57 AM
1 mom liked this
The high cost of formula is just one of the many reasons I'm glad I can physically breast feed, and I wanted to breast feed. I can't imagine spending that much money on formula...it's so expensive. Plus I'm giving my son the best.
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