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14th November 2013 11:45 AM #1
UK Mothers being paid to breastfeed their own children
So this is an interesting one - mothers being paid to breastfeed their own children. In this UK pilot program, a group of women in poorer areas of the UK where breastfeeding is at an all time low are being offered incentives in the form of food vouchers to breastfeed their babies for the first six months.
If the pilot is successful the intention is to roll the program out nation-wide. Keep in mind the UK has one of the worst breastfeeding rates in the world. Do you think it is right to do so? Will it work?
Here is the news article: Mums paid to breastfeed own kids
16th November 2013 06:15 AM #2
This has been causing a lot of media attention this week, hasn't it.
As a stand alone scheme, I don't think it would be effective. My feelings are that the amount of money being offered (in the form of shopping vouchers) would not be enough to sway a new mum to start breastfeeding if she had previously decided to formula feed. Breastfeeding mums already save money compared to formula feeding mums (no bottles, formula, sterilisers etc) on average so there is already a financial advantage to breastfeeding.
My belief is that it is the sharing of good breastfeeding knowledge that can increase breastfeeding rates. I think it would be great if children could learn about the benefits of breastfeeding throughout school. I also feel that breastfeeding peer support groups/ services are key to both helping more mums in the early days of breastfeeding and supporting mums to continue to breastfeed to two years and beyond.
Perhaps alongside a peer support group and excellent breastfeeding education this financial scheme could help to increase breastfeeding rates; but I don't think it would work just in itself.
I'd also be interested to hear other members' views on this.
19th November 2013 04:17 PM #3
I agree. I understand the logic behind the scheme but I don't think it will work. In addition how will it be policed and what kind of world do we live in if you have to police a breastfeeding mother.
I can see providing some sort of financial assistance would be useful where the main barrier to breastfeeding was having to return to work, but the breastfeeding subsidy, along with anything else the mother could get in the way of assistance would have to be enough to support her.
In reading the article it seems the real issue is that these mothers come from a long line of formula-feeding women and throwing food vouchers at them isn't going to make up for the lack of community and familial knowledge.
I guess we'll see how it goes!
19th November 2013 07:42 PM #4
Yeah I don't think this'll be effective.
To really improve breastfeeding rates there needs to be a cultural shift, better support and education (and not just for expectant parents) and more normalisation of breastfeeding in public, as well as something like formula being only available by prescription- though this would involve much better breastfeeding knowledge for doctors, which is severely lacking.
I'd like to know what else is being offered to the mothers in these targeted areas. Are they being given extra education and support? Help to prepare, and to really understand why breastfeeding is so important? What about the few that might be in these areas who genuinely physically can't breastfeed (which statistics say is less than 2% of women, but is still more than 0).R, mama to M (8), Z (5.5), and bellybabe due Jan 2014
20th November 2013 07:57 AM #5
The more I have thought about this new incentive the more I am convinced that (as you refer to Asrathiel) breastfeeding education is of such importance - for all health professionals as well as new parents and....well everyone really. I heard an interesting discussion on the radio about this where a breastfeeding peer support worker was making the point that rather than saying 'breast is best' she says 'breast is normal'. With good education, excellent support as well as the support and acceptance of society breastfeeding will be considered the normal way to feed your baby and formula only given in exceptional/ necessary situations.
My understanding is that this voucher scheme would be offered alongside breastfeeding peer support.
I really agree with your point about doctors needing to continually update their breastfeeding knowledge - I've sadly heard too many cases of misinformation being given out by doctors.