Research shows that longer paid maternity leave translates to higher national rates of breastfeeding exclusivity and duration.
The Yale School of Public Health and the Universidad Ibero in Mexico City have developed a standardised, five-step method that individual countries can apply to calculate the annual costs of extending such leave. Details have just been published in this open access article in the June 2020 Bulletin, from the World Health Organization: 'Costs of maternity leave to support breastfeeding; Brazil, Ghana and Mexico'.
Researchers from Yale and Ibero tested their model in Brazil, Ghana and Mexico to illustrate how the method is replicable and reliable, yet versatile enough to accommodate a range of national contexts using publicly available data bases. The study, supported by the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation, has the potential to inform evidence-based policy decisions that could lead to maternity protection benefits and support breastfeeding.
The researchers have also called for further evaluations to address the next research gap: how to estimate the cost savings gained from extending paid maternity leaves? Please stay tuned for updates by subscribing to our newsletter.