Breastfeeding has achieved the consideration of the best food a newborn can receive, not only for its nutritional properties but also for being a practice whose benefits extend to individual, family, and social levels. Today, awareness of a change in breastfeeding practices and culture is paramount, as current rates of breastfeeding women still remain below health recommendations. Taking into account one of its many advantages, the economic savings it provides for our health system compared to other types of food, this prospective cohort study (observational, analytical and longitudinal) was carried out, with the main objective of "estimate the impact on the direct health cost, derived from infant morbidity, associated with the introduction and maintenance of exclusive breastfeeding versus other forms of feeding the baby"; Mothers, residents of the province of Toledo, were interviewed personally during their stay in the hospital and by telephone at 3 and 6 months. The results show that in Toledo the prevalence of LME at 6 months is 19.49%. Certain influential characteristics have been found in the maintenance of the LME, such as having a supporter of offering breast to the RN, having previous experience in LM, older gestational age, not having offered bottles in the hospital, have a child RN, have not joined work before 6 months and have not used a pacifier. Other variables, however, increase the risk of early abandonment; foreign nationality, inexperience in previous children and lack of employment.
Failure to feed RNs with LME for 6 months results in an increase in health costs of 128.96% over those that did, greater use of health resources and an increase in pharmacological consumption. It is estimated a saving of 51.255.769 €/year in the Spanish Health System only with increasing to 50% the rate of women who offer LME 6 months. Conclusions; considering the low SML rates in the population together with the data on the profitability and efficiency of this practice, it is necessary to continue researching and collecting information in this regard while encouraging, promoting and encouraging, in the general public and health professionals in particular.
Keywords: Breastfeeding, Health expenditure, Cost analysis, Newborn feeding, Feeding