Program That Offers Moms Cash to Breastfeed Their Babies Is a Genius Idea

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breastfeedingIn an effort to boost breastfeeding, new mothers are being offered money to nurse their babies in Britain. Yep, cold hard cash for putting an infant to their breast. Does it sound ridiculous to you? It did to me at first. Seriously? Paying women to breastfeed? It just seems so ... unnatural. But when I thought about it for a minute or two, I realized: If anything is going to get moms who are on the fence about whether or not to breastfeed, it's cashola. Money talks. Even to tatas.

The program is being introduced in two "deprived" areas of England, the country with the worst breastfeeding rates. It will offer new mothers shopping vouchers for grocery stores and other shops for $200 if they breastfeed for six weeks, and vouchers for $320 if they continue for six months. The program will be policed via having midwives check in with mothers to confirm that they are in fact nursing.

However, not everyone agrees with this tactic to boost breastfeeding rates. Janet Fyle, policy advisor to the Royal College of Midwives, said: "The motive for breastfeeding cannot be rooted by offering financial reward. It has to be something that a mother wants to do in the interest of the health and well-being of her child." And while I agree with Fyle's statement when it pertains to most situations, I think offering low-income families vouchers actually would get them to breastfeed. Maybe more so than educating them on the benefits of nursing. I also think that once they've hit that six-week mark, barring no complications have arisen, the odds of them making it to six months is pretty good. By six weeks, moms typically have their routine down pat, and their nipples don't feel like they're on fire every time baby latches on. It's the little things.

This is a new program, so we'll have to wait and see how it pans out. But my money (heh) is on that it does. What's a bigger incentive to people than cash? There's a reason people have been doing it in business for years to boost employee productivity -- it works! Why wouldn't it with nursing?

If the initiative winds up doing exactly what it's intended to do -- get more moms to breastfeed -- it will be rolled out nationally next year. And then who knows? Maybe we'll see more mums in England breastfeeding their babies -- even without the cash incentive. It has to start somewhere, right?

Do you think money would incentivize women to breastfeed?

 

Image via Mothering Touch/Flickr

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jrphelps jrphelps

I took part in a breast feeding study & got a free case of Pampers, vitamin D drops, & Rice cereal every month for a year!!  It saved us over $600 :)

nonmember avatar blue

If someone needs to be paid to do something beneficial to their child...they are a really crappy parent. I didn't breastfeed, because I literally could not. Do people get paid if they try and can't. Or, is it just the lazy moms who want some money, so they'll deal with sticking their boobs in their kid's mouths for a few months?

lulou lulou

Yes, government-wise can see it as a great return on investment for public health, education, energy, waste management.  I also think it should go further with breaks on health insurance, just like my non-smoking, fitness, rebates, etc.

Elaine Cox

and giving women money to not have babies in an over populated world or that they cant handle or support is good too

len0117 len0117

 If you need to be paid(bribed) in order to do what is healthiest for your child then you ought not be a parent.


Now, if the govt starts paying people NOT to have children, I'll support that program.

len0117 len0117

Overpopulation is a myth, Elaine Cox. There is more than enough land and resources in the would. The problem is poverty, not overpopulation.

Em Chappell-Root

The earth has ecological managment problems, not over population problems. Would they extend this to Moms who are exclusively pumping for their babies, I wonder, and would they advocate for moms who are working and need to pump, ensuring they didn't face discrimination (which happens no matter what the law is) or mistreatment?

Daisy... DaisyJupes

Generally, lack of proper education or social stigma is what prevents mothers from breast feeding. I think this is brilliant. It's usually not bad parenting, but other factors.

ktobin2 ktobin2

What about women who can't breast feed because they can't produce, or the baby doesn't latch, or her nipples become cracked and bleeding (happened to my mom) or the ones who work full time, or women like myself who have to take a lot of meds that a baby shouldn't be exposed to. This is stupid. No one should be payed to feed their own child that's stupid.

nonmember avatar Ewa

This is a seriously good idea! Welfare gives mothers formula and in fact, it seems that low-income mothers are more likely to formula feed. This makes no sense to me, since breastmilk, aside from being the best thing for your child, is FREE! So, mothers that are breastfeeding could surely use some help via grocery vouchers, they have to eat well in order to produce milk for their babies. I see this as a much more rational alternative to welfare providing formula.

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