Increasing Breastfeeding in WIC Participants: Cost of Formula as a Motivator

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Objective: To assess the cost of infant formula, explore mothers' perceptions of formula cost, and assess whether cost influences the decision to breastfeed. Methods: A mixed-methodological descriptive study with survey (phase 1) and interviews (phase 2) was completed in Rhode Island Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) offices. Thirty non-breastfeeding mothers participated in phase 1 and 14 pregnant women participated in phase 2. Means and frequencies were calculated for phase 1. For phase 2, data were organized into matrices and thematic analysis identified key themes. Results: Non-breastfeeding mothers were spending an extra $46 a month on average in their child's fourth month on formula beyond the formula supplied by WIC. This was perceived as high, but formula cost did not influence their decision to breastfeed. For mothers intending to breastfeed, cost information was perceived as an additional motivation. Conclusions and Implications: Information on supplemental formula cost could be provided as a motivator for women intending to breastfeed. Future research should investigate how cost information could be used to support breastfeeding initiation and duration among WIC mothers.

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Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior