Lactation Kits for New Moms: A Heartfelt Business Case
For a number of our clients in the healthcare space, we see a significant opportunity for them to increase their advocacy for new mothers.
New moms face a world of new challenges — some expected, some not. Take breastfeeding, for example; this skill for mom and baby can take weeks (or months) to develop and may even require support from the medical community to navigate this journey successfully.
For providers, population health groups reaching young families, and payers of Medicaid and commercial health plans, this area of welcomed support is something worth exploring.
Why lactation kits?
Lactation kits can provide new mothers with the essential supplies and resources they need to breastfeed successfully. These care kits can help encourage a number of positive outcomes:
- Establish and maintain a healthy milk supply
- Troubleshoot common breastfeeding problems
- Provide easy access to lactation consultation and telehealth visits
- Reduce the risk of postpartum complications
- Reduce healthcare costs associated with formula feeding
From the perspective of certified lactation counselor Karrie Locher (as quoted in a recent Huffpost article), in addition to common parenting expectations and despite best intentions, “there is already so much societal pressure to breastfeed, yet the current support is lacking.”
The value a lactation kit provides new moms is apparent — and needed.
Trends pointing to the increased importance of lactation kits
Healthcare organizations are laser focused on providing exceptional patient experience, recognizing that this leads to improved health outcomes. This is especially true for new moms and babies. At a much higher level, the market trends below underscore the growing significance of lactation kits:
- Support gaps in at-home care. CDC research shows that 60% of mothers stop breastfeeding earlier than planned, often due to a lack of support and issues with lactation and latching. In fact, many mothers do not reach the CDC-recommended six months of infant breastfeeding. The report highlights that “families may need stronger systems of support to reach their breastfeeding goals.”
- Health equity and inclusion. A 2022 survey by the Commonwealth Fund found that 84% of Americans believe that healthcare should be available to everyone, regardless of their income or insurance status. This represents a significant increase from 72% in 2010. Additionally, 71% of Americans believe (and are concerned) that there are significant differences in the quality of healthcare that people receive based on their race or ethnicity.
- Increased consumerism in healthcare. Oliver Wyman research reports that 44% of Gen Z respondents are willing to share personal health details in exchange for tailored health information or discounted services. As generational purchasing power transfers over to Gen Z consumers, this additional data is invaluable to providers. Additionally, Insider Intelligence research indicates that over twice as many Gen Z respondents say they frequently use social media to look up specific health-related information when compared to Millennial respondents.
A lactation kit is more than a box full of swag. Done well and done thoughtfully, they are a valuable investment in the health and well-being of new moms and their babies.
What goes into a lactation kit?
According to one extensive review of breastfeeding interventions and practices, a lack of knowledge and confidence were found as the main reasons among new mothers for less than optimal breastfeeding experiences.
How can a lactation kit increase confidence and provide effective breastfeeding support for new moms? Based on our experience sourcing, assembling, and distributing new mother lactation kits for our healthcare and health plan clients, a kit’s contents may include:
- An easy-to-understand guide to breastfeeding
- Convenient access to virtual lactation consultants and support
- Nursing pillow
- Breast pump
- Freezer bags for breast milk storage
- Nipple cream and reusable nursing pads
- A nursing poncho or shawl
- Hydration support (e.g., branded water bottle to measure water intake, coconut water, electrolyte powder, lactation tea bags, etc.)
- Personal items for mom (e.g., a scrunchie, chapstick, nail polish, etc.)
Where lactation kits and new moms meet
The trend towards holistic, preventive, equitable, and consumer-centric healthcare, we believe, will only increase the importance and need for healthcare providers and health plans to provide new mothers with the tools and resources they need to make breastfeeding a success.
Here are some specific examples of how providers and plans can provide lactation kits directly and more effectively:
- Provide lactation kits to all new mothers at discharge from the hospital. This is a convenient and easy way to ensure that all mothers have immediate access to the support they need to breastfeed successfully.
- Offer lactation kits as a benefit or free perk to health plan members. This would make lactation kits more accessible for mothers and would show that health plans are committed to supporting breastfeeding mothers.
- Partner with local businesses and organizations to distribute lactation kits to new mothers in need. This would help to ensure that all mothers have access to lactation kits, regardless of their financial situation.
A lactation kit is more than a box full of swag. Done well and done thoughtfully, they are a valuable investment in the health and well-being of new moms and their babies. They can improve patient and member experience, reduce healthcare costs, and play a positive part in the development of a mother and child’s bond.
Cindy Thomas is the Director of Business Development for RRD Healthcare Solutions. Beth Jackson is RRD’s RVP of Sales and Growth with a specialized focus in the Provider and Population Health sector. To learn about RRD’s care kit solution, a turnkey offering that closes gaps in at-home care, visit: rrd.com/industries/healthcare/provider-solutions.