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Keywords:

  • cost-effectiveness;
  • breastfeeding;
  • low-income women

ABSTRACT

Objective

To describe the costs of providing support to breastfeeding low-income women and compares costs to cost offsets of the intervention.

Design

Secondary analysis of data from a randomized controlled trial of an intervention to promote breastfeeding among low-income women with full-term infants.

Setting

A university hospital and a community hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

Participants

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) eligible breastfeeding women (N = 328) were randomized to usual care or the community health nurse/peer counselor intervention.

Methods

The researchers collected and described personnel and mileage costs over the entire duration of the intervention (24 weeks). Researchers also compared (using t tests) change in resources associated with breastfeeding including the number of clinic visits, hospital nights, emergency room visits, prescriptions, and formula feedings per day up to 12 weeks.

Results

The cost of the personnel and travel required for the intervention was $296 per woman. The use of medical care and number of formula feedings per day were similar for the intervention and usual care groups. When differences in use of medical care and formula feeding were statistically significant, the intervention group used fewer resources.

Conclusion

Support for breastfeeding by community health nurses and peer counselors is partially offset by reducing medical care utilization and formula feeding costs.