Researchers in Canberra have developed a tool to tally the volume and monetary value of breastmilk produced in Australia and around the globe.
The Mothers’ Milk Tool, created by Australian National University (ANU) researchers in partnership with Alive and Thrive and FHI Solutions, also allows individual mothers to add their own data and calculate the value of the milk they have produced for their child.
Researchers hope the tool, which is free and can be downloaded, will make the value of breastfeeding more visible to policymakers.
“The value of breastfeeding is poorly recognised,” said the ANU’s Dr Julie Smith.
“Counting human milk is a way to value and recognise how much women add to the food system, economy and society through the care of infants and young children.”
Counting human milk is a way to value and recognise how much women add to the food system, economy and society through the care of infants and young children.
“When countries do not count breastfeeding or human milk in production statistics, the extent of women’s productivity and contributions to society goes unnoticed.”
Dr Smith said that if the value of breastfeeding is not visible it is harder to make a case for funding the policies and programs to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
“We want more than statements that mothers ‘should’ breastfeed,” Dr Smith said.
“We are calling for better funding and policy that will make the entire process a lot easier for mums. We hope this tool will help achieve this.”