Project: Economic Benefits of a Breast-Feeding Promotion: A Controlled Clinical Trial
Award Year: 1999
Amount of award, fiscal 1999: $399,700.00
Institution: Montefiore Medical Center
Principal Investigator: Karen Bonuck
Status: Completed
Detailed Objective: This work evaluates the economic benefits of a pre- and postnatal breastfeeding promotion intervention by measuring its impact upon child health care costs, breastfeeding practices, and child health outcomes. Breastfeeding is the preferred infant-feeding method for most infants because of its beneficial impact upon general health and well-being. The most effective breastfeeding interventions include in-person and individualized lactation support spanning the pre-and postnatal periods. This type of lactation support reflects the kind of public health promotion activity that may be encouraged if the economic costs and benefits were known. The economic consequences of breastfeeding promotion interventions have not been evaluated, despite their potential potency and cost-savings.

This project is relevant to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), given its breastfeeding research, intent to promote breastfeeding, and the high proportion of WIC participants and eligibles in the low-income population. The intervention to be studied--individualized professional lactation support--is one that could be incorporated into WIC, either through expanding the existing program or by including a separate lactation support benefit. It is hypothesized that the economic benefits of an intensive breastfeeding promotion intervention will exceed the marginal economic costs of providing such an intervention. Further, it is hypothesized that the pre- and postnatal intervention will have a positive impact upon breastfeeding intentions, initiation, and duration, as well as be associated with reduced incidence and severity of specific infant and childhood illnesses. A grant was awarded to the Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine at a cost of $399,700 in fiscal 1999. The work is expected to be completed by September 2002.

Topic: Breastfeeding
Bonuck K., K. Freeman, and M. Trombley. “Country of Origin and Race/Ethnicity: Impact on Breastfeeding Intentions,” Journal of Human Lactation, Vol. 21, No. 3, August 2005.
Bonuck, K., M. Trombley, K. Freeman, and D. McKee. "Randomized, Controlled Trial of a Prenatal and Postnatal Lactation Consultant Intervention on Duration and Intensity of Breastfeeding up to 12 Months," Pediatrics, Vol. 116, No. 6, December 2005.
Freeman, K., K. Bonuck, and M. Trombley. “Breastfeeding and Infant Illness in Low-Income Minority Women: A Prospective Cohort Study of the Dose-Response Relationship,” Journal of Human Lactation, Vol. 24, No. 1, February 2008.
Memmott, M., and K. Bonuck. “Mother’s Reactions to a Skills-Based Breastfeeding Promotion Intervention,” Maternal and Child Nutrition Journal, Vol. 2, Issue 1, January 2006.