Before I get the Breast/Bottle debate bullies going off on one in my comments, I have to stand up and remind you I did both. I breast fed one child, and formula fed the other. So I am well placed to approach this latest Government scam from both angles. So there.
Its them there Tories again with their bullying tactics against us normal parent's and our rights to a choice again causing a storm of protest and angst on social media platforms.
Currently, a trial of 130 women in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire is attempting to coerce new Mum's to breastfeed rather than bottle feed with the promise of £200 of John Lewis, Tesco and Poundland vouchers for taking part.
It's a bribe. Pure and simple. No matter what your viewpoint on breast is best or formula feeding being right for your child, waving a metaphorical fishing line with £200 on it is tantamount to a bribe.
I also feel the scheme- even though it's only a test at the moment- is done with perhaps good intentions, as there is a massive divide depending on socio-economic factors whether a Mum decides to bottle or breast feed a child. However, with most Government schemes it falls at the first hurdle as it lacks proper thought and insight.
Firstly, take my situation.
I loved breastfeeding Mini. I loved the simplicity of being out, and having her wail for food, only to have to get my baps out and feed her in ten seconds flat (I had no worries sitting in public breastfeeding). I didn't have to go through all that bottle nonsense, all that sterilising, or checking it was warm enough, or going into a cafe and asking them to heat it for me. No, it was ready and waiting on call, 24/7.
Yes, I was woken up all the time, and couldn't share the load with Elder (he naturally supported my decision as he got no disturbed nights at all the swine). Yes, when her teeth came through, my poor nips started to resemble cheese graters. But I liked it, lost tones of weight, could stuff pizzas without a care in the world and bonded with my daughter from the off.
On the flip side, I tried to express my milk for Littlest in SCBU, but got nothing, zip, nada bar a tiny droplet before the milk factory closed for business due to unforseen early baby issues.
I had no choice but to go to the dark side(!) and bottle feed him. I personally was under so much stress and worry at that time, I felt the utter pressure put on me by some of the staff in SCBU was completely out of order, I was made to feel awful by one old school Nurse as I was "letting him down" not trying harder. I tried so hard my boobs ached for days and were bruised. I even tried to get a 6 months off of Breast Mini to suck again to see if she could bring it on.
I cannot imagine what I'd have felt like with this as well. No vouchers for me and my other SCBU buddies due to our babies being early- something we couldn't control, is hardly fair or justified. It will also mean that there is an even bigger divide between the on time Mummies and the SCBU Mummies. It wont help the sense of failure by any means that we are treated like these supposed "lazy" Mums who choose the bottle from the off.
And what of these "lazy" bottle Mums?
What about their freedom to say, "you know what, I just gave my body for 9 months, I don't fancy that thanks". Do they not have the right to say that?
What of these supposedly poorer families who they are mostly targeting with this? There are plenty of Mum's who may want to breastfeed but due to their family income rate may be unable to as they go straight back to work within weeks of giving birth. Why should they miss out?
Once again, the majority of those in the long term who will benefit from this scheme, should it become a nationwide thing, will be the middle to upper class Mum's who have the time and help needed to breastfeed.
The idea that a women who previously didn't want to breastfeed doing so for financial gain leaves a poor taste of selfishness in my mouth. I can see it causing angst and depression for those who can't breastfeed, and worry for those who try hard and hate it.
This is your baby, its your choice, and no amount of government bribe should force feed you to Breast Feed.