Do we need incentives to breastfeed?
So the news today is that women are to receive a financial incentive to breastfeed their baby.
Women who breastfeed for 6 months will receive £200 of shopping vouchers. This scheme is being trialled in a couple of areas at the moment where breastfeeding rates are low and if successful it may be rolled out throughout England next year.
I have seen alot of discussion on this topic today, it's popped up on twitter, facebook and on the news this morning, nearly everyone is against the idea.
Personally i find it an odd concept, it seems a little condescending to women really.
Breastfeeding was something i was desperate to do, with Seb i had a difficult time with no support(you can read about it here) and then again with Alex i was made to feel formula would be best as he wasn't gaining weight, but not one single midwife who came out to our home(there were alot in the 10 days) asked to see me feeding him so they could check on his latch etc, i was very stressed out that my baby was losing weight, i was in pain from a major operation and the idea that i would get £200 in 6 months time would have made no difference to me and the many other mums i know who didn't use formula as a first choice.
What would have made a difference is that £200 going towards someone who could come and spend some time with me and help me to feed successfully. A peer supporter or even an experienced mum could have made a huge difference.
I will say that i will be interested to know if the scheme does increase the breastfeeding rates in the trial areas, will education and support be given alongside the incentive? If so it would be interesting to see if it is the vouchers or support that has the most effect.