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Mothers to be given vouchers to encourage breastfeeding

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A new Government scheme will see breastfeeding mothers in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire given up to £200 in shopping vouchers in a pilot scheme that aims to increase the amount of mothers breastfeeding in these areas. The regions have been specifically targeted as the majority of mothers living there choose not to breastfeed. Should the scheme prove successful it will be deployed to other areas of the UK.

Incentives

The NHS has been known to offer incentives to a variety of people, including clinically obese patients in an effort to encourage them to lose weight, and smokers, in an attempt to get them to kick the habit; however this is the first initiative involving breastfeeding. To receive the £200 vouchers, women will need to prove they have been breastfeeding for at least six months, and midwives and health visitors will need to verify the women are in fact breastfeeding. However, mothers who breastfeed for six weeks can still receive £120 in vouchers. The scheme is to be funded partially by the government and also by the medical research sector.

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

The NHS and other health organisations have publicised the benefits of breastfeeding for many years, with the implementation of numerous campaigns aimed at encouraging women to breastfeed. It has been said breastfeeding can help with the initial bonding stage between mother and child, and it is also believed to have numerous health benefits for a new-born, including better digestion and the prevention of infections.

Controversial Coercion

Although the campaign has been lauded by some, including Dr Clare Relton who is directly involved with the scheme, others believe such incentives will do little to encourage women to breastfeed. Janet Fyle of the Royal College of Midwives states that breastfeeding should be something a mother truly wants to do, “…In the interest of the health and well-being of her child”. Fyle believes the Government should look to alternative methods of support for breastfeeding women such as employing more staff to assist new mothers.

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About Denise Morgan

About Denise Morgan

Denise has five years' experience writing for various web-based companies. During this time she has also contributed to magazine articles and brochures. In addition to writing, Denise is a gigging singer/songwriter and is proud to have featured on the first series of BBC One's The Voice UK, having been selected by the great Sir Tom Jones. Denise is mother to the most talented and ridiculously intelligent two year old that has ever been and ever will be (until she creates another one that is). This kind of hyperbole is restricted only to her progeny and is not a reflection of her usual writing styles... Denise and her son live in Manchester along with their five cats - yes that's right, five.

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