The Cost Implications of Not Exclusively Breast Feeding in J | 47014

Primary Health Care: Open Access

ISSN - 2167-1079


The Cost Implications of Not Exclusively Breast Feeding in Jamaica

Caines DM and Henry FJ

Although breastfeeding is known to enhance nutritional wellbeing and overall health it is recognized that a tradeoff exists between benefits and costs when mothers decide to maintain breastfeeding. This study examined whether the financial cost of not breastfeeding can be used as a powerful argument to promote breastfeeding. The prices of fresh milk, powdered milk and commercial formula were collected from popular supermarkets across four parishes in Jamaica. These prices were used to calculate the cost of replacement feeding for mothers who were partially and not breastfeeding during the first six months. Results show that households were spending between J$10,500 and J$73,000 on breast milk substitutes. For low income families this utilizes 14% to 65% of their salaries. The paper discusses the educational, workplace policy and food security implications and concludes that the financial benefits are profound.