study recently published in the journal Pediatrics has found - shocker - that breastfeeding saves lives and could save, theoretically, billions of dollars each year, according to a cost analysis.
They call the results "startling," but those of us who have had to buy formula, or are thankful we don't have to, are not surprised. One can alone of that stuff is not cheap. I think the philosophy of most of the nursing moms I know is, if you have 'em, use 'em. Nursing isn't always easy, but once you get the hang of it, it's cheap! Totally free! And so much more convenient than going to the store and buying caseload after caseload of formula.
I don't think, though, that that's going to change the mindset of the formula companies or hospitals/medical staff who practically shove the stuff down your throat when you have a baby. I've heard of so many women who are proverbially beaten over the head with the "Free Formula bag" they feel like it's a do-or-die situation. Or nurses who will feed bottles to the newborn even though the mother expressly said not to (or those who say "Formula is just as good as breastmilk." Hopefully they are rare!) With my third, they were concerned about his 'blood sugar,' but never told me his levels (or anything else), except "His sugars were borderline, so we gave him formula. That's what we do - we don't even ask."
One nurses' assistant while I was in the hospital said, "I don't believe that stuff about babies getting confused between the breast or bottle," and I thought, Well. I'll be sure and call you at 2 a.m. when my son decides he'd rather have formula than me." Try telling that to moms for whom it's been a serious problem and I'm sure they'll tell you otherwise.
Anyway, I digress.
I find the timing of this study interesting, to say the least. National healthcare legislation has just been passed, and I'm sure the government is all about saving money. I know WIC encourages breastfeeding, because it's healthy, of course, but yes - it saves them money - but I wonder how many mothers in the program are nursing. I'm not sure if WIC already does, but I would love to see some initiatives by this group to get more moms to nurse because of those very obvious benefits. That much saved on formula could mean that money goes to another family (or families) in the program who also need it.
Think about it - in the WIC program, I wonder how much money the government is paying for formula alone. It's just an observation - I'm not judging anyone for being on WIC - just wondering out loud how much it probably costs. I bet that's startling.
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