Voucher offer aims to boost breastfeeding

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NEW mothers in a former mining town in Yorkshire are being offered high street vouchers worth up to £200 in a pioneering project to improve breastfeeding rates.

Women from Maltby, near Rotherham, who give birth between January and April, will be given vouchers to be redeemed in local shops as part of the Nourishing Start for Health (Nosh) study to improve breastfeeding in areas where rates are low.

Vouchers worth £120 will be awarded if they breastfeed for six weeks, with another £80 given if babies get breast milk to six months.

Principal investigator Clare Relton, of Sheffield University, said: “Babies who are breastfed have fewer health problems such as upset tummies and chest infections and are less likely to develop diabetes and obesity when they are older.

“Breastmilk is perfectly designed for babies and provides all they need for the first six months of their life. The Nosh scheme offers vouchers to mothers who breastfeed as a way of acknowledging both the value of breastfeeding to babies, mothers and society, and the effort involved in breastfeeding.

“Offering financial incentives for mothers to breastfeed might increase the numbers of babies being breastfed, and complement on-going support for breastfeeding provided by the NHS, local authorities and charities.”