According to a news story in today's Telegraph newspaper, the NHS is planning to "bribe' new mums to breastfeed, in a bid to tackle the low rates of breastfeeding in parts of the UK.
The paper reports:
"Trials which offered women up to £200 in shopping vouchers if they breastfed their children found half of those offered the initiative signed up for it, and two thirds breastfed for six weeks."
"Now researchers have expanded the controversial experiment."
"More than 4,000 women will now be offered the scheme, which pays out £120 in vouchers for those who breastfeed for six weeks, rising to £200 for those who reach six months."
It's hoped if that offering vouchers for breastfeeding will significantly increase what an expert called "stubbornly low breastfeeding rates" and be a "cost effective use of UK public funds".
Call me naive, but I just can't see that slinging wads of cash at women who would otherwise choose not breastfeed is really all it takes to make them change their minds.
But if it does, then I don't mind admitting that I'm in favour of the plan. If that's what it takes to help persuade mums to breastfeed their babies, then I can't really see what the fuss is about. Yes, it would be lovely if more mums felt inclined to breastfeed without there having to be a financial incentive for doing so, but it's a decision that does require support.
We'd love to hear your thoughts on this. If you didn't breastfeed, would you have considered doing so in return for shopping vouchers which could be spent on nappies, baby clothes, groceries and other essentials for the family?
Or are you a mum who did breastfeed but feels that the scheme is in some way inappropriate? Let the debate begin...
Image credit: Flickr/Sergio Maistrello