The Breastfeeding trial seems largely unpopular based on the other blog posts I’ve read today, and lots of comments on twitter.
New Mum’s offered voucher incentive to breastfeed.
If I was offered £200 for breastfeeding my sons I would have taken it willingly. It’s not £200 all in one go, it’s in £40 chunks only dished out when the mum has breastfed for certain lengths of time.
For my first child I struggled. I cried in bed in the hospital as my B cups had swollen to about an E within a few days. It was horrible, but I got past this as I was helped in the hospital each evening by the staff after the dinner, visiting time then bed time routines. It would go quieter and I’d get sensible advice.
I only managed up to 4 months with D, but I’m glad I tried. I had the dreaded cracked nipples and D got teeth… That was a bad and rather ouchy combination. I tried pumps and expressing but it wasn’t working for me. But 4 months wasn’t too bad. It had saved us money when we were down to a single income. I soon found out just how expensive formula milk is.
Those £40 a time vouchers might not be wasted on booze or junk food you know, they could be support for the mum to continue to breastfeed. For example with the “incentive/bribe” vouchers the mum’s could buy a breast pump, a breastfeeding shawl if they felt shy about things, a better bra, a set of bottles that work with the pump so others can give baby mum’s milk when she’s out or having a rest. I’ve read some criticism that the high street vouchers can be used at Poundland – I did lots of baby shopping at Poundland.
I respect other parents choices, wether that be breast or bottle feeding or both. I realise that sometimes mums aren’t able to breastfeed, and more rarely some mums can’t bottle feed.
I had to breastfeed my younger son. It’s complicated but after his birth I had problems… Heavy bleeding, really heavy, which then turned into a huge phobia of bleeding to death. I was unable to walk a lot of the time, pretty much paralysed from the fear. I would get my eldest son D or Blokey to put a pack of wipes and nappies on the bed, and a big bottle of water. Sometimes D would grab random snacks, such as cheese biscuits or a few apples and bring them upstairs to leave them on my bed side table.
If I’d bottle fed Jen could have suffered and been malnourished. I didn’t want to be bed bound, but I was – which meant Jen was too. Breastfeeding meant however frightening moving was I could still feed him. Getting downstairs alone to the kettle to make bottles would have been impossible.
I lost weight, and wasn’t that well but Jen was healthy and happy.
I would have used my bribe on normal shopping meaning that there would be extra cash left in our bank and the bills would have been easier to cope with. It would have taken some pressure off of us.
I agree with some posts I’ve read that this £200 per mum could be spent more wisely, fir a longer lasting effect, for example investment in training of midwifery staff and health visitors. However I still think paying the mum directly is a smart move. I know a lot of mums that breastfed for a short time after the baby was born, just a few days. Under this trial scheme that mum would earn £40 or £80 if she could hang on a little longer.
Its not so much bribery as an incentive to keep trying. In some areas breastfeeding isn’t normal, and mums would plan on bottle feeding from pregnancy, utterly unwilling to try to breastfeed at all. It’s attitudes of the public as a whole that need to change, breastfeeding is normal and not something to be ashamed of.
I remember being told off by an older lady for breastfeeding my tiny son whilst on a bus. He was hungry, and over-tired and it was a 25 minute bus route as it seemed to stop every 100 meters. I replied in a polite voice but said would they be offended if a toddler was eating chocolate or crisps? The reply was of course not, so I say the only difference here is my son was having a healthy snack rather than screaming about being hungry for the whole journey. The older lady saw my point, and I carried on.
Even if this scheme got just a couple of those mums to breastfeed their babe for the first few days it can help the childs future health. Who knows, upto £200 a mummy might be cheap when you consider the possible savings on the health services if the next generation had improved immunity and health? I think this has to be worth a try. If it doesn’t work then ok, but this is a small scale trial. Give it a chance before you condemn the idea please?