I’m sure a lot of us by now will have come across the recent story in the news about the incentive for new mums to encourage them to breastfeed, or at least read somebody’s opinion on it. It seems the majority of my friends have relatively the same opinions on it, that they think it is a silly idea. (I’m not planning to get into a debate on breastfeeding here, I am purely talking about this scheme).
Personally, I agree to a huge extent.
I think that if a woman really wants to breastfeed (or at least try) then she will do it anyway without a monetary incentive, as we have been doing since the beginning of time. Also, as I had problems breastfeeding little man, it immediately occurred to me, what about the women who do what to breastfeed, but can’t, or struggle (for any number of reasons)? It doesn’t seem ‘fair’ that they don’t get the encouragement they actually need.
Which brings me to the point, surely these funds would be better spent on training health visitors, peer supporters etc. and providing support for those who actually do want to breastfeed, not for financial gain, but for them and their child? I feel that I didn’t have this support when I was struggling and really actually wanted and needed it. Also, what if one of these mothers in the scheme is struggling but so obviously wants to carry on just so they can get their vouchers at the end of it – will there be more support instantly provided to her?
I do understand that this scheme is being rolled out in deprived areas of the country with the lowest breastfeeding rates in order to try and bring them up which is a good thing, but as I said above this could be done in other ways for those that really want to do it, especially in the less deprived parts of the country. I personally don’t think it will work in the long term, with many many women still feeling it is ‘unfair’ or silly for one reason or another.