The Really Big Money

The Mother’s Milk Cooperative agrees with and applauds the work of international expert in breast feeding – James Akre – that breast feeding is highly valuable and that its value can and should even be considered in economic terms. For example, think of the opportunity cost of breast feeding and pumping, the cost of additional calories needed to lactate, the short and long term savings in health care when infants are breast fed, and others.

JamesAkre.jpgJames Akre is the founder, chairman and CEO of the International Breastfeeding Support Collective, member of the editorial board of the International Breast Feeding Journal and of the Scientific Advisory Committee of La Leche League France, and and past member of the board of directors of the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE). He  is a powerful and knowledgeable expert on the benefits of breast feeding and international trends in infant feeding.

In Chapter 8: “The Really Big Money”, of his book The Problem With Breastfeeding: A Personal Reflection, Akre presents a view of breast feeding that might persuade even the most reluctant politician to prioritize the promotion of breast feeding in laws and policies. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 8:

There are some truly outrageous claims regularly made about the value of breast milk or, more accurately, the absence of value. One of the most infuriating that I see repeatedly is that breast milk is somehow free. Ironically, breastfeeding advocates sometimes unwittingly get caught up in this foolishness, even to the point of adopting that especially ugly advertising tautology “free gift” – as opposed to the kind we pay for? While we occasionally speak about the money breastfeeding saves, we mostly ignore what breastfeeding costs. Breast milk is most assuredly not free. In fact, I would start by describing it as priceless, even as breastfeeding itself has at least three price tags directly attached: a mother’s time (which far too many people erroneously consider to be on the house), the energy cost of producing milk (up to 500 kcal a day that need to come from somewhere) and the opportunity cost. You’ll have no difficulty recognizing the first two tags, which are an altogether spectacular bargain when you consider the payback in terms of positive lifelong consequences for children, mothers and thus the entire society. But the third one may not be so familiar. I’m borrowing from economic theory where “opportunity cost” refers to the cost of something in terms of an opportunity forgone – for example mothers who must choose between staying at home with their children and returning to paid employment outside the home to meet their families’ financial needs. As we all know from personal experience, there really is no such thing as a free lunch. 

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Managing Your Debt

by Andrea Lalen-Kasten, MMC Donor-Member


This topic is a little harder to write about, as everyone has a different level of debt and what they are doing about it varies. I know we have been through a few years of working very hard to pay it off and then some other years of well, it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon…let’s just make minimum payments to those credit cards...

Every New Year comes with new goals (part of me hates resolutions; they almost always seem doomed to fail). Goals are something to strive for; you can “fall off the wagon, but start again at any time.” In our house we don’t aspire to pay off all of our debt by the end of the year (seriously that isn’t realistic), but we do aspire to set one financial goal to accomplish by the end of the year.

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Hormones of Motherhood

By Deborah Locicero, MMC Board Member, RN, and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)

The perfection of nature is always evident if we know where to look. The human body is a miraculous machine. And nowhere is that miracle more evident than in the hormonally regulated process of pregnancy and birth coupled with the breast’s ability to produce the ideal food to nourish a baby from birth through the first year of life and beyond. What an example of perfection!

dream_designs.jpgDuring pregnancy, your body can sometimes feel like one big hormone. Starting with the early weeks of morning sickness and tender, growing breasts, continuing through the second trimester’s feelings of increasing anticipation and connection to the baby that has begun to move within you, and soon replaced by the third trimester’s emotional roller coaster, food cravings, and sleeplessness. Your body’s hormones are working their magic.

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Breastfeeding Matters

by MMC Board Member Pat Benton, MS RD

Breast milk has all the nutrition your baby needs for the first six months of life. After six months, continue breastfeeding while adding solid foods.

Breast milk has antibodies and other factors that help protect your baby against illness. Breastfed babies will get sick less often, have fewer infections, and make fewer trips to the doctor’s office. Breastfed babies have a lower risk of becoming overweight and developing diabetes and certain types of cancer. They are also less likely to develop asthma. The risk of a breastfed baby having sudden infant death syndrome is also lower.

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Breastfeeding and Diabetes

by MMC Board Member Pat Benton, MS RD

Diabetes is a growing problem in the United States. Currently, about 1 in 10 Americans over twenty has diabetes. There are lifestyle choices that may prevent Types 1 and 2 diabetes, including breastfeeding.

A recent statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics explains that infants who are breastfed without any formula or other foods for three months have a 30% lower risk of Type 1 diabetes, which may be partly caused by the cow’s milk proteins in formula. Infants who are breastfed have 40% less risk of Type 2 diabetes. The decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes may be because breastfeeding promotes weight control and feeding control.

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