New mothers ‘bribed to breastfeed’ by NHS with £200 shopping vouchers

I breastfed for 6 months. Exclusively. Rarely gave expressed breastmilk and never gave formula. Right up until 6 months. I didn’t wake up and decide that I wasn’t going to breastfeed anymore. P2 decided one day that she just wasn’t interested anymore. The pain I felt emotionally of her decision was overwhelming! I never imagined myself to be a mother of a toddler running up and demanding boobie but when I had breastfeeding established I couldn’t imagine anything different that feeding my daughter myself.

I simply wanted the best for my daughter and so did my hubby, so that’s what swayed my decision to breastfeed. I certainly wasn’t swayed by money. Even though breastfeeding exclusively for 6 months has saved us a lot of money!

Clearly, this post is about the very recent decision to offer new mums in parts of Derbyshire and Yorkshire £120 in high street vouchers if they sign forms to declare they have breastfed their baby for six weeks. With a further £80 given to mothers at six months if they are still breastfeeding. That’s £200 in vouchers.

That would have been lovely. For me. An honest breast feeding mum who could have used that money to buy new clothes rather than second hand ones! But I don’t see how this is going to increase the breastfeeding statistics. Breastfeeding should be something a mother chooses to do because she wants the best for her baby, not because she’ll get free vouchers worth £200. It’s bribery. It’s disgusting!

Surely a better way to increase breastfeeding statistics is to ban formula from shops and to put it as prescription only for mothers who have had all the support they can get to establish breastfeeding but unfortunately can’t. Ok, I know that would cause a lot of issues and uproar. But surely it’s better than bribing mothers for money?!

Money this government clearly doesn’t have as they are cutting emergency services funding and various cuts elsewhere. But they feel it’s ok to hand out money to some genuine and many not genuine new mums?! I’m pretty sure they cut the £250 child trust fund thing because P1 had it, but P2 hasn’t. That is such a better scheme!!!

I hope this scheme fails. I really do. It’s unfair to all the mums that successfully and unsuccessfully breastfed for any length of time, all our ancestors that didn’t have the “luxury” of formula milk. The luxury of choice. I’m sorry if that makes me a bad person. I love breastfeeding but I now formula feed, not out of choice.

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  1. Interesting post to read. I agree with you, it seems ludicrous that mothers are being offered high-street vouchers in exchange for breast-feeding but I’m not sure banning formula from the shelves is the answer. I breast-fed both my girls for as long as I could but had to combo feed from quite early on as both were losing lots of weight & not getting enough from me. I knew I would struggle with breast feeding possibly not being able to feed at all due to an op I’d had on my boobs when I was younger (no, not a boob job!!) so while I was disappointed not to be able to BF them exclusively and for longer, I was pleased I’d been able to give them some breast milk at least in those early weeks. I know breast is best but when it’s not always possible then formula is a good and essential alternative. It’s great when breast feeding works for mum/baby but when it doesn’t, mum shouldn’t be made to feel like she’s a bad mum or has failed her baby

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