Infant formula may cost money, but breastfeeding is hardly "free," according to a new study by researchers at the University of Iowa.
The study found that formula-feeders (i.e., mothers who never breastfed), short-duration breastfeeders (i.e., mothers who breastfed for fewer than six months), and long-duration breastfeeders (i.e., mothers who breastfed for six months or longer) all experienced earnings losses after giving birth. However, on average, long-duration breastfeeders experienced much steeper and more prolonged earnings losses than did mothers who breastfed for shorter durations or not at all.
"When people say breastfeeding is free, I think their perspective is that one doesn't have to buy anything to breastfeed whereas one needs to purchase formula and bottles to formula-feed," sociologist Phyllis L. F. Rippeyoung said in a press release.
Mary C. Noonan, the study's co-author, added, "Breastfeeding for six months or longer is only free if a mother's time is worth absolutely nothing."
Image: Breastfeeding mother, via Shutterstock.