Why paying moms to breastfeed just might work
Despite decades of campaigns encouraging new mothers that breastfeeding is best for babies, here in the Western world, the rates at which mothers nurse are still remarkably low. Could the solution be to throw a little money at the issue?
In the US, only 29% of mothers breastfeed exclusively the first six months of their babies' lives. And the figures are even more dramatic in the UK, where this year breastfeeding rates have declined for the first time in almost a decade. By the time a baby reaches the six or eight week mark, fewer than half of all UK mothers there are breastfeeding exclusively. In June, the Royal College of Midwives raised concerns about the drop-off, and noted a dwindling support for nursing mothers. Two years ago, the British government scrapped its National Breastfeeding Awareness Week, and the National Health Service has been slashing pre and postpartum care programs for women. Now, a Sheffield University research program is hoping to do something to reverse the trend. But plenty of critics are questioning whether it's a meaningful incentive or outright "bribery."