Brace yourselves: this is going to be a ranty one.
Have you heard the one about new mums being offered shopping vouchers in exchange for breastfeeding? I kid you not, that’s the latest initiative hit upon by the so-called experts in a bid to improve breastfeeding rates in the UK. And it makes me SO mad.
Firstly, the scheme places emphasis and blame for poor breastfeeding rates on us mums as usual; secondly, it completely ignores the multitude of reasons breastfeeding rates in this country are so low and thirdly, who comes up with these ideas? I’d be willing to bet money on it being people who have never breastfed – or supported a partner who has.
The trial cost a whopping £460,000 to conduct and gave new mums a £40 voucher if their baby was still receiving breastmilk at two days, 10 days, six weeks, three months and six months old. And if you ask me that £460,000 could have been far better spent elsewhere.
Why shopping vouchers for breastfeeding makes me SO mad!
How about spending the £460,000 on funding lactation consultants to help new mums struggling to get to grips with breastfeeding on hospital wards?
How about spending the money on cutting NHS waiting times to have issues like tongue tie resolved?
How about redirecting it into maternity allowance, allowing breastfeeding mamas to stay at home until they’re ready to return to work, instead of being forced back sooner than they otherwise might?
How about offering employers £40 vouchers for supporting breastfeeding mums in the work place two days, 10 days, six weeks, three months and six months after they return to work?
And how about offering cafe, shop and restaurant owners incentives for creating breastfeeding-friendly environments?
The thing is, the vouchers-for-breastfeeding trial has been hailed a success after breastfeeding rates rose from 31.7% to 37.9% among those who took part. But I’d also be willing to bet the results would be the same – if not better – if things liks breastfeeding support services and breastfeeding in the workplace were improved.
But what do I know? I’m just a mum who endured 10 days of torturous tongue tie owing to NHS waiting times and gave up a dream job so I could exclusively breastfeed three babies (insert eye roll emoji here).
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Broken nights, bleeding nipples, tongue tie & endless pumping – no one said breastfeeding was going to be easy, but nothing quite prepared me for how rewarding it was going to be either. Contented snuffles, milk drunk cheeks & watching them grow on nothing but my milk alone. I've managed to exclusively breastfeed all three of my babies thanks to support & expertise from the likes of @medela_uk & that's why I'm proud to join the likes of @mrsgifletcher & @mrs_izzyjudd to be #milkinit! #breastfeeding #breastfeedingmama #breastfedbaby #medela #MedelaMums #coolmumclub #perfectandproud #documentyourdays
What do you think? Does the vouchers-for-breastfeeding scheme sound like a good idea to you, or does the idea make you mad like me? I’d love to hear your thoughts!