Mothers keen on study that puts dollar value on breast milk

By REN LANZONnewsroom@gladstoneobserver.com.au

GLADSTONE breastfeeding mothers have welcomed a new study that puts a dollar value on breast milk.

A recent NSW Health breastfeeding study said mothers should be counted as food producers and recommends breast pumps be GST-free.

Group leader of the Gladstone group of the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) Alannah Shore said the study also highlighted the health value of breast milk.

She endorsed an ABA response to a report prepared by Australian National University economist Julie Smith who calculated the 34 million litres of breast milk produced by Australian mothers a year was worth $2.2 billion. The calculations were was based on the milk's value in European milk banks, where breast milk is stored and sold. The ABA said putting an economic value on breastfeeding would help highlight "how much we stand to lose if we don't protect it''. It said breastfeeding was important for many reasons including the value to government and society of lower health costs.

Mrs Shore said the ABA held that breastfeeding was the norm for infant nutrition.

"Our (ABA) vision is for babies to breastfeed exclusively for six months , with ongoing breastfeeding for as long as mother and child desire,'' she said.

"We educate and support mothers using up-to-date research findings and the practical experience of many women.''

The next meeting of the ABA in Gladstone will discuss the topic of expressing and storing breastmilk at the Women's Health Centre on April 14 from 9.45am.



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