New mums to be offered £200 to breastfeed

In a bid to encourage more women to breastfeed, a pilot scheme has been launched in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire where 130 women are being offered £200 in shopping vouchers to breastfeed their babies.

The trial starts today and the women taking part will be given £40 worth of vouchers if they breastfeed for 2 days, another £40 for 10 days and another £40 for another 6 weeks. They receive another £40 at 3 months and 6 months, totalling £200.

The vouchers can be spent at stores such as Poundland, Asda, Tesco and John Lewis and midwives and health visitors will have to sign a form to verify whether the women are breastfeeding in order for them to receive the vouchers.

These areas have been chosen because breastfeeding rates there are half the UK average, but the scheme, if successful, could be rolled out nationally.

Britain has one of the lowest rates for breastfeeding, with only around 30% of women breastfeeding for 6 months as recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Breastfeeding is encouraged because research has shown that it protects babies from chest infections, stomach upsets and allergies and can also help mother and baby bond.

What do you think? Is it right that women are offered a bribe to breastfeed, or is it worth it for the benefits to the baby and mother? Is it fair to women who are unable to breastfeed? Tell us in our comments area below.

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