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WHAT IS THE COST OF NOT BREASTFEEDING IN INDONESIA?

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According to a recent study in the International Breastfeeding Journal, the estimated cost of not breastfeeding in Indonesia is between USD 1.5 and USD 9.4 billion annually. This is due to the irreversible, associated costs of sicknesses, cognitive losses and maternal and infant deaths.

The study also presents an alternative – an attractive economic case for boosting breastfeeding rates by expanding paid maternity leave to women working in the nation’s ‘informal’ employment sector. For example, the study shows how providing 13 weeks of paid leave would cost less than 0.5% of Indonesia’s annual GDP.

“Indeed paid parental leave has been shown to support meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outcomes such as lower infant mortality, increased exclusive breastfeeding rate, and better economic outcomes for women,” write the authors.

Details on building a policy to support recommended breastfeeding practices are here in this open access article: ‘The yearly financing need of providing paid maternity leave in the informal sector in Indonesia’.

The research was supported by Alive & Thrive and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly grant to Yale University by the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation.

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