Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The Breastfeeding Bonus

It has been announced that the NHS will be running a trial scheme to encourage new mothers to breastfeed by awarding them shopping vouchers, in an attempt to raise the number of mothers in the UK that breastfeed. 

In my opinion this is very poor attempt to'encourge/bribe' mothers into breastfeeding. 

Firstly, Breast milk is free, formula is blimin' expensive! Those mothers that chose formula clearly aren't motivated by the financial benefits of breastfeeding, so why would a voucher make any difference ???

Secondly, how is this going to be monitored? There is no way of enduring that the mothers are exclusively breastfeeding. 

Thirdly, the vouchers offered can be spent in supermarkets, what's to say that these will not be spent on cigarettes or alcohol. Again, this is impossible to monitor!

Fourth, mother who are suffering financial difficulties that may have never chosen to breastfeed might feel forced into doing so. Will this led to resentment? 

Lastly, are we considering mothers that had intended to breastfeed all along , no financial incentive needed. Are they going to feel the need to explain their choice had nothing to do with the vouchers? 

I chose not to breastfeed Albie, this is a decision I regret. I believe breast is best for babies health, however after my C-section I didn't feel up to it and the midwives didn't question it, I think if they had I would have been prepared to give it a go, however it's not their fault, I am sure they give up preaching the benefits to mothers. If we do have another baby I will certainly be trying to breastfeed, we have suffered from constipation with Albie and I put that down to his formula. I have also found a number of other uses for breast milk, apparently a couple of drops up a blocked baby nose really help to unblock it, it can also be used to treat baby acne. Don't get me started on the sterilising of bottles last thing at night when you have fallen asleep on the sofa and just want to head to bed! 
If the scheme is initiated after the trials, I think I would certainly want to tell people the vouchers had nothing to do with my choice, especially as I chose not to breastfeed my first. 

What is your opinion on this? Would it convince you to breastfeed? 

(*please excuse grammer and spelling - quickly written post using my iPhone) 


  1. I find it patronising and insulting of them to assume women will be swayed by the vouchers. It's a decision women should be able to make themselves and should not feel pressurised into making. The whole thing just seems absurd to me.

  2. I think its absolutely ridiculous.

    What about people who can't breast feed? Its just yet more guilt being added - "oh YOU can't have the vouchers despite the fact that you're paying a fortune to feed your baby as it is and don't actually have any other option....sorry!"


  3. Nah, much as I love a good shop, shopping vouchers would have done nothing to sway me either way when I was getting to grips with breastfeeding. I had all sorts of ups and downs with it, but it was the help of my health visitor that got me through, at no point would a bunch of vouchers have made any difference.

  4. This story actually made it onto our local news. We must have nothing else interesting to broadcast during prime time tv time slots.

    Anyways it got me wondering what the current environment / opinion on breastfeeding is there in the UK. I think breastfeeding seems to be more prevalent here. Yes there are those who can't but it seems people really really give it go here. We're educated on the benefits from midwives/dr's as soon as we've given birth, we have a free 24hr breastfeeding help line, have a lactation consultant see you (for free) if you need help ... basically there seems to be a lot of support from various sources.

    I am currently breastfeeding but I can give you a list of reasons why breastfeeding is inconvenient ... for the mum of course.

  5. From what I've briefly read, it looks like the vouchers will be available to those on a lower income or in poorer areas to encourage BF and therefore get better long-term health- but it begs the question, 'why should you get it and not me'? It's the same as milk vouchers, why should some people have to buy formula milk when so many others get it for free? You can't pick and choose who gets what in my opinion, and what if you want to BF but physically can't, if you've had a breast reduction for example? It's unfair to essentially penalise someone for things beyond their control. I think this trial will just prove that it's impossible to run or monitor fairly, so it'll just fade away quietly (I hope!) xx

  6. I totally agree, why should poorer families get this allowance and not every breastfeeding mother? I also agree it's totally unfair on mothers who are bottle feeding or who physically cannot breast feed for whatever reason.
    How can they prove that these mothers who will receive the allowance are actually breast feeding as well.. It seems like a wild idea to me that hasn't been very well thought through at all!
    I actually do think its good that the government is trying to encourage UK mothers to breastfeed as I personally don't think there is enough information or open'ness around it here like there is in the US or other countries which maybe is why mummy's to be like me aren't keen to try it! But.. I don't think a cash/voucher incentive is the way to go about it!! X

  7. It is bizzare that they would give money to women who are breast feeding and nothing to mums who are using formula , like you said for a lot of mums breast feeding just isn't possible . In my opinion it doesn't really send out the right message and encourages breast feeding for all the wrong reasons!