Breastfeeding Bribery B*llocks

You can’t make this shit up can you?

Seriously, seriously, who in their right mind thought ‘I know, if we can’t convince mothers to breastfeed any other way why not bribe them?’ HURRAH!

I have problems with this scheme on many levels.

1. It’s not going to fricking work! In order to breastfeed you need to want to breastfeed. It’s the same as with giving up smoking, if the motivation is not there then you will never succeed.

2. You need to address the problem at the root cause, correct the negatives and stigma and re-educate people. Throwing money at a problem and hoping it will go away is not the answer.

3. It heaps even more pressure on many, already fragile, new mums. Imagine you really want to breastfeed but are struggling, you have bleeding nipples, mastitis, a low milk supply and you can’t stop crying. Sometimes you just need someone to say ‘hey it’s ok to stop‘ – you really don’t need someone dancing about wafting shopping vouchers in your face.

4. Ditto the above but for those who are struggling with low income – they keep chugging on because those vouchers could do so much for their family. They become, anxious, withdrawn, they can’t sleep. Have you ever heard of PND?

5. Just, um maybe, BUTT OUT!! Whose business is it anyway how a woman chooses to feed her child. Formula is not the work of the devil.

I had two very different breastfeeding experiences. The first time around it was a disaster, I tried so hard but it was incredibly painful and soon became physically impossible. Should I have been punished because my body seemed to fail me?

Fast forward a few years and I’ve just finished breastfeeding my second son. Luckily for me it was much easier and we avoided may of the problems we encountered the first time around. Because of this ‘luck’ I would have qualified for the 200 quids worth of vouchers if this scheme had of been in existence.

You know what? I would have thrown them back in their faces.


P.S. I have a new book OUT NOW! You can nab it on Amazon here or in your lovely local bookshop :)


39 thoughts on “Breastfeeding Bribery B*llocks

  1. jennypaulin

    *claps hands* i could not agree with you more.
    I am proud that i was able to breast feed but it was tough and took a while to get the hang of it and for those who cant or really dont want too, why should they be finacially rewarded for breastfeeding if it is something they dont wan to? Stupid just stupid x

  2. notafrumpymum

    Like the others have said, sums this mad idea up perfectly. I tried to breast feed my son, who was born at a below average weight and lost a further 8 oz in just over a week when I was exclusively breast feeding. I remember sitting in the car sobbing on my way to breast feeding club because I was so distraught!
    After dropping me off hubby went and bought some formula and we combination fed before switching over to the “dark side” completely! That was the right decision for my son and he has gone from strength to strength since. It drives me crazy the pressure put on new mums to breast feed. If you can do it and it works for you, brilliant, but if it doesn’t so bloody what!

    1. hurrahforgin

      Me too, i feel so strongly about this as i had an awful time the first time around and it really ruined a lot of the newborn days for me. I think it probably worked this time as i didn’t care anymore so put no pressure on myself x

  3. laura

    I didn’t want to breastfeed my children. I was made to feel like s*it by my midwife and eventually agreed to try. My heart was not in it, I had no help, I found out 24h later my son had not been latching on properly and I was in effect starving him. he was given a bottle immediately. do I regret my choice …. No. this ‘incentive’ is a law suit waiting to happen.

  4. icklebearz

    I failed.both times trying to breastfeed and the thought of some people being rewarded for being able to do it really hurts me. It’s bad enough seeing posts from people saying they did the ‘right thing anyway’ and breastfed as they knew it was best, but to then have these people lord it over us with stinking vouchers?!
    Why not invest the money in breastfeeding supporters in hospitals etc so that if someone wants to do it there will be the help and support there. There was no one there for me. One helper for 3 full wards with my youngest and eldest being born prem meant no help atall!

    1. hurrahforgin

      Thanks for your comment Carol, sounds like you had a really tough time and i totally agree! Putting it into a support group is a much better idea – i would like to see ‘feeding support groups’ rather than just breastfeeding ones where you can go and ask for help no matter which method you use x

  5. Laura @mummytoboyz

    I’m with you on this! They should spend the money on supporting women and sorting tongue ties. I read on one site how a mother was still waiting 5 weeks on to how her babies tongue tie snipped- that mum deserves a medal!

    A lot of women start b/f but the numbers feeding past 6 weeks is low. It’s these first few weeks that are the hardest and when support is needed. They need to educate mums and dads to be on some of the pitfalls and problems of b/f such as thrush, mastitis etc so they know how to spot them.

  6. the mmmmm family

    This is completely wrong on all levels. Not only are there mums that can’t feed for physical reasons but there are those that have to go straight back to work, literally. The breast v formula battle has been going on for far too long. When is anyone ever going to realise that being a good mum is what is more important and nourishing your child paramount regardless of the source. I’m so utterly fed up with the pressures that are piled on to mums and parents these days. It’s such a shame as breast feeding should be seen as a positive personal choice not one that is forced on you through guilt, bribes and fear.

  7. mylittledreamworld1

    I agree, and a post that perfectly sums up what I’m thinking! I’m still breastfeeding my 7 month old, but I don’t need a voucher to say well done – I see my healthy baby and that’s good enough for me. Plus – I’ve actually saved around £280 from what I would have bought in formula – that’s one of the reasons I’m carrying on now rather than stopping. I would rather the money they want to give away be used for a universal service for parents. Xx

    1. hurrahforgin

      If someone tried to give me a voucher i would get really angry! I feel the same as you, one of the reason i carried on so long was for the convenience and money. I don’t happen to believe breast milk is SO much better. My first son had formula and he is just fine :)

  8. cariemay

    It’s just crazy isn’t it – right up there with the post office having to bribe people to do their jobs! By their logic I get the vouchers but my friend C who longed to feed her baby but couldn’t because little Izzy had tongue tie, T who tried and tried and tried for five long and painful months to feed her very hungry son and L whose premature son just couldn’t get the hang of it all miss out. For heavens sake – if I wanted shopping vouchers I’d enter a competition; it’s not even in the picture as far as breast feeding motivation goes!

  9. Luci - Mother.Wife.Me

    This the best, most succinct post I’ve read on this subject – which is both brilliant, in that you say everything that needs saying so well – and not brilliant, because I’ve just spent an hour bashing out my own post on the subject that is nowhere near as readable! Really pleased to have discovered your blog – that’s one positive to come from the shopping vouchers idiocy for me.

  10. Dean B

    That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard! As you know, I had difficulty breastfeeding T, but I did for at least three months. It was really hard and I felt a whole lot guilty about it. Bribing mothers to breastfeed is an insult! Grr,

  11. emilygoesforit

    Great post.
    I didn’t want to breast feed, the idea of it all just freaked me out too much, as it happens I was desperately ill after labour so it wasn’t really an option anyway. I was made to feel awful for my choice and for what happened, but you know what, even if I had been offered these bloody vouchers then it wouldn’t have changed my mind. I feel this is going to open an entire kettle of worms.

    1. hurrahforgin

      Thanks Emily – I don’t care what the reason is that people don’t breastfeed, if you simply don’t want to then fair play. Feeling forced into it against your will, will be of no benefit to anyone!

      1. emilygoesforit

        No, the midwife was too pushy, I’ve also matured a lot in 2 years, so I think if we have another baby I’m going to give it a go. If it works it works, if it doesn’t then so be it, but it doesn’t freak me out as much as it did

  12. Emma

    I couldn’t agree more! Personally I thought I’d breast feed until the baby was at least a year- I was so motivated and sure it would happen. I didn’t figure on PND though and breast feeding was intrinsically caught up in a very negative mindset- it led to so much unnecessary guilt. I learned from the experience with my next four children and didn’t beat myself up over it.

    1. hurrahforgin

      Thanks Emma – The same here, i feel sad thinking about my first sons newborn days and how much pressure and guilt i felt. I learned from it too though and put myself under no pressure this time and was so much happier.

  13. Jem

    I am actually not keen on the idea either, although my opinion has mellowed somewhat as I’ve done more reading, but actually I think #3 and other people’s feelings is the worst reason NOT to do it. It sounds shit, but other people’s feelings really aren’t important. Saving the NHS millions of pounds is. Improving the health of babies is. Decreasing incidents of SIDS and childhood cancers etc through increased breastfeeding and increased duration IS important. We can’t pussyfoot around and stop trying to make things better just in case it offends someone, because that doesn’t help anyone.

    Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t give a crap if people want to get their tits out. Everyone has a breastfeeding story. But we can’t use guilt as a stick to beat other mother’s with, because it’s not fair on them and not fair on you (metaphorical you, not YOU you.)

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  15. helloitsgemma

    Well done, great post. The right side of ranty.
    It’s such a stupid idea, BF needs to come into the mainstream, while women still feel the need to feed in a toilet to ensure they don’t offend people, while high street shops still have manky feeding rooms instead of inviting women to feed in their cafes – the debate is not effective. Everyone needs to get on board, business, retailers, extended family, society generally with BF and how hard it is, we need to be supporting mothers, no pressurising them and if it doesn’t work out then the positive alternative is formula. It’s so bloody simple and cheaper than “shopping vouchers”. “Shopping vouchers” how flaming patronising!

  16. Kara

    I agree with you totally. They are better off reinvesting in sure start centres and bringing up the next generation to realise that boobs are for babies and and not for some billboard somewhere BUT there is no shame if you choose or can’t breastfeed!


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