Should Moms be Paid to Breastfeed?

Photo: Shutterstock / The Bump Photo: Shutterstock / The Bump

Leave it to the Brits to one-up us all, y’all. First, they gave us a king and now — they’re paying moms to breastfeed.

The pilot scheme, a joint effort between the government and the medical research sector, is targeting moms in British areas like South Yorkshire and Derbyshire and a third area — and they’re offering to pay 130 moms up to 200 Euros in shopping vouchers so long as they nurse their babies. And if all goes according to plan, the British government plans to roll out the nursing-for-profit program in England within the next year.

The team behind the project said that breastfeeding was a major cause of health inequalities in the country. Dr. Clare Relton, a university expert heading up the project, said that she hoped the financial incentives would foster a culture where breastfeeding was seen as the norm; and so if more and more women did it, more and more would join in. “It is a way of acknowledging both the value of breastfeeding to babies, mothers and society,” she said, noting that bottle-fed babies often have more stomach issues and chest infections than their breastfed peers. Bottle-fed babies, studies have shown, also perform below their peers in school.

In an effort to combat surprisingly low breastfeeding rates, medical researchers are trying to provide an incentive for moms to continue breastfeeding. As it currently stands, only one-in-four moms in these areas are breastfeeding at the six- t0 eight-week mark, whereas, in other parts of the country, 55 percent of moms are still breastfeeding when baby’s at those same milestone markers. So, the government teamed up with the England’s lead medical researchers to devise a way to make moms want to breastfeed for longer: By giving them vouchers that can be used in supermarket and “high street shops”. But in order to qualify, new moms have to breastfeed baby for a full six months — and the government has asked midwives and health visitors to ensure that the women are nursing with regularly scheduled visits.

But not everyone is jumping to back the program. Janet Fyle, from the Royal College of of Midwives, said, “The motive for breastfeeding cannot be rooted by offering financial reward. It has to be something that a mother wants to do in the interest of the health and well-being of her child.”

So, what do you think: Should breastfeeding moms be paid?

Plus, more from The Bump:

A Smart Start to Breastfeeding

12 Ways to Make Breastfeeding Easier

11 Things You Didn’t Know About Breastfeeding