You've heard it before. Everyone has. "Breast is Best." But what does that really mean? Best for babies? Moms? Better for their physical and mental well being, of course. But what about the environment? Breastfeeding is very green! Society at large? Surely the global economy can't benefit from your breastfeeding relationship, right? Think again! A study completed in 2017 showed that if just 50% of the world's infants were exclusively breastfed for 6 months, it would save 300 billion (yes, billion with a B) dollars and 520,000 children's lives. Those are some big numbers. For every $1 invested in supporting breastfeeding mothers, that dollar generates $35 dollars in economic returns. Talk about a good return!
What does that mean for you personally?
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Now, hear me out before you make assumptions. This is NOT a post about how I think moms who choose to formula feed should be breastfeeding. That's REALLY not what I'm saying. We actually feel very strongly that mom's choice is important, and a mom should be supported no matter what. You can see our video about the Successful Breastfeeding Philosophy that covers exactly that right here.
What we really don't understand, and what is frustrating to no end to us, is that women who REALLY DO want to breastfeed, are left to struggle, completely unnecessarily, and either don't reach out for much needed support OR they don't know that it's even available. We started offering affordable, same day, virtual breastfeeding support so we could be even more accessible to more moms, no matter where they live. Also, when we support women in our practice we do everything we can to make sure every mom we see has the information they need to submit the cost of their support for reimbursement.
We often hear moms who say they just can't afford to invest in lactation support. And, I get it. It can be expensive. BUT if you think about the alternative, what is really more expensive? Formula is not cheap. But what does that decision not to seek support really cost? Assuming an infant is not being overfed and is eating the average of 4oz eight times per day, you would need 12 regular sized cans of formula per month. Assuming your baby didn't have any constipation, gas, spit up, or sensitivity and was able to stay on regular cow's milk based formula, this would cost just over $200/month $203).
For under $200 your baby's first month ($197), you could invest in our full support package. That would get you TWO private consults with a LC and 30 days of unlimited, all access text support for your baby's first month of life. And if you submit to insurance and were reimbursed (most companies reimburse in 7-21 days), you could potentially get all of that support for free. Or you could continue to pay $200+/month for your baby's first YEAR of life for formula.
That initial investment up front is saving our clients so much - both financially and emotionally. Women who struggle with breastfeeding and wean abruptly can cause worsening symptoms of PPD/PPA. And an even darker statistic is the cost of doing nothing. We are very lucky to live in a country where most of us have access to safe water to mix formula. That isn't the case globally. Worldwide, 820,000 children and 20,000 women die each YEAR as a result of not breastfeeding, or suboptimal breastfeeding practices. Lack of breastfeeding support is literally killing mothers and their babies around the world.
So the next time you or someone you know is struggling with breastfeeding challenges, instead of buying into "Fed is Best" (Fed is not best, fed is mandatory!) and reaching for a bottle that will end up costing you, your baby, the planet, and the economy SO much more physically, emotionally, mentally, and monetarily, maybe go with our favorite catch phrase instead - "Supported is best" (#SupportedIsBest). "Supported is best" doesn't always mean exclusively breastfeeding. Meeting breastfeeding goals looks different for every mom and baby. But investing in breastfeeding can quite literally save lives.
Can you afford not to?
Now it's time to hear from you!
Tell us in the comments below what you think about the Successful Breastfeeding Philosophy #SupportedIsBest !
AND tell us how YOU were, or were not, supported on your own breastfeeding journey.
Hey! I’m Allison, one of the Lactation Experts with Successful Breastfeeding! I am an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and have over seven years of experience as a pediatric nurse working one on one with mothers and babies. My most important credential is being “Mama” to two little ones. I am so happy to be part of the Successful Breastfeeding team; to be able to offer support in a more relaxed setting! I can help you meet your breastfeeding goals no matter where you are - virtual sessions for convenient, accessible help no matter where you live. Breastfeeding is a relationship between you and your baby, and it’s my job to support it, whatever your goals and needs happen to be.
Kelly Maher, CLC, CLE
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