This post is in response to recent news that a research project is being launched to offer £120 in shopping vouchers if babies are breastfed until they are six weeks old. Mothers will get a further £80 in shopping vouchers if they continue breastfeeding until their babies reach six months.
Lead researcher, Dr Clare Relton, states “Offering financial incentives for mothers to breastfeed might increase the numbers of babies being breastfed and complement ongoing support”.
I understand fully the importance and benefits of breastfeeding, however, I am completely insulted by the inference that those who don’t breastfeed could be “swayed” by dangling a financial reward in front of them, and I feel this shows prejudice to a section of society over another. It also comes across that those who don’t breastfeed don’t because they don’t want to. Believe me, I wanted to breastfeed desperately.
Sadly it just didn’t work out for us (for a number of reasons), and it took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I couldn’t continue with breastfeeding Baby Squirrel. I still feel great sadness that it didn’t work out for us. However, I feel very strongly that I am just as good a Mother as my breastfeeding peers, and that Baby Squirrel is as healthy and engaging as her peers, despite the continual formula-bashing that is promoted by the media and many breastfeeding advocates.
I do feel that Mothers who formula-feed are often made to feel inferior because they don’t breastfeed. As a Mother who wanted to breastfeed desperately (and would try again if a baby number 2 comes along) I can now understand there are many reasons why breastfeeding isn’t possible for everyone. Proposals like this suggest breastfeeding is a black and white issue, when from my own experience I can state it most definitely is not!
I have tried to put my thoughts on this in words here as concisely as possible, however, I still feel incredibly emotional that breastfeeding didn’t work out for us, and find myself rambling.
I came across an excellent article in the New Statesman by Glosswitch which echoes many of my own thoughts on this matter, in particular the assumptions that are made about Mothers who do not / cannot breastfeed!
“There is something badly wrong with the way in which any discussion of breastfeeding brings up crass stereotypes, with lactating Primrose Hill Polly Fillers played off against ignorant formula fiends who need bribes in order to make them do the right thing. The debate is crammed with classist assumptions, something which the voucher proposal only exacerbates.”