The Costs of going Baby Friendly
NICE has pronounced the implementation of the Baby Friendly standards as cost effective.
A costing report which accompanies the NICE postnatal guideline shows that, while going Baby Friendly has an initial cost implication (through training needs and changes in procedures), this diminishes year on year. The report estimates that becoming Baby Friendly will start to save a facility money after three years, owing to a reduction in the incidence of certain childhood illnesses, and that savings will increase thereafter as the costs of maintaining accreditation fall. In reality the potential cost savings will be much higher than the report suggests because breastfeeding protects both mothers and babies from a wide range of common illnesses, many involving life-long healthcare costs.
Baby Friendly’s report, Preventing disease and saving resources: the potential contribution of increasing breastfeeding rates in the UK, found that moderate increases in breastfeeding would translate into cost savings for the NHS of many millions, and tens of thousands of fewer hospital admissions and GP consultations.
A staged approach to assessment and accreditation allows facilities to spread costs and enables better financial planning.