The Media Mummy

£200 in vouchers to breastfeed your child…?!

When I heard the latest news today that a pilot scheme is being planned in parts of Sheffield and Chesterfield to encourage more mothers to breastfeed their babies – I held my breath and listened out to hear what would be the latest way for new mums to feel even more pressure to live up to the often used adage ‘breast is best’.

So, wait for it…. – £200 in shopping vouchers if you breastfeed for the recommended six months. Oh great, brilliant. Or rather slightly condescending and/or patronising… thinking that the chance for a bit of retail therapy can form the basis of someone’s decision as to whether or not to breastfeed their child. And sometimes the choice to breastfeed is simply a decision that’s taken out of your hands. So what would happen then? Surely it would  be as if that parent was being penalised.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for breastfeeding, but what horrifies me is the pressure us mums are put under – by both our peers, elders and organisations – to consider it as the only option.

I was lucky – (when I say lucky, I still had initial problems getting my daughter to latch on and throughout breastfeeding, Lansinoh was a regular addition to my shopping list!) but sometimes it upsets me to think about, and witness, the stress and difficulty some mothers (and of course their partners looking on) go through getting their babies to latch on / breastfeed – made only worse by judging comments or the feeling that they’re simply giving up or not trying hard enough.

Only time will tell if this pilot scheme works – happy babies aren’t just the result of simply being breastfed. A happy home goes a long way too.

Above all, surely education and support is the best way forward, instead of what appears to be a case of pure bribery?

Rant over.
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