Thursday, September 10, 2009

Final Day at the Infant Nutrition Conference

Today, I gave my presentation. I received relatively few questions. Many people commented on the quality of the presentation. No one really questioned my presentation. Someone pointed out how it is harder to conduct a cost calculation when funds are not actually exchanged.

Someone did comment that it would be useful to add on several extra effects:

• Positive environmental effects of breastfeeding over formula production
• Positive bonding associated with skin-to-skin contact
• Including breast milk in GDP

Another person asked how to engage health economists on including the harder to value effects--my answer was to at least begin the discussion as early in the research planning as possible.

Someone afterwards suggested that an Australia researcher had tried to place a GDP-relevant monetary value on breast milk. The researcher is someone I've met, so I will follow up on that one. Click here to see an example of her work.

The rest of the day was also good. Talked about fathers some more, information needs, and targeted interventions.

It really got me thinking about breastfeeding as a research topic for new papers again.

It was so nice being in an environment in which people were genuinely interested in the tools I use and wanting to know about how they work rather than questioning whether the tools should be used at all. I often get questions about whether we should use economic tools at all in the US.

And, to my friend and colleague Steve Kymes, you'll be happy to know that I extensively quoted your response to me a few entries ago when we were discussing the moral and economic contexts of decisions.

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