Want to help breastfeeding numbers? Give the help to those who want it!
The NHS is to bribe thousands of new mums with £200 to breastfeed following a scheme that was started last year. Brilliant you may think. More babies will be breastfed, the health of babies will improve, yadda yadda. But what about the mums, like me, who wanted to breastfeed but got little to no support to help this happen?
I can not claim to getting nothing. I was helped once a day for 10 minutes at the hospital, but once we got home we had to wait weeks until we could get an appointment with the breastfeeding support worker. In that time I was encouraged, and in some cases forced, to feed my daughter with a bottle. Whilst in the hospital the midwives there didn’t have time to help so they made up bottle feed. I was told I wouldn’t get home if I didn’t use a bottle. I asked to use a cup or syringe but those were not options to us. We even got told if we didn’t bottlefeed it would be done for us. We bottlefed.
I failed. It still upsets me
Once the breastfeeding support worker came the first thing she said was that she didn’t think she could help me. So that was that. I couldn’t force my baby to feed. She wasn’t interested and by now it was too late. I failed. It still upsets me.
Apparently the scheme, which was trialled in some of the poorest areas of the country, has seen some success. A two-thirds of participants claimed £120 of shopping vouchers for breastfeeding for six weeks. Sounds good – I wish I could have breastfed for six weeks. I wouldn’t have wanted an financial incentive to do it, just some help. For those who fed for six months they got the extra £80.
Now how do they actually tell if a baby is breastfed or whether people are claiming they are? I presume there is a test? What about people like me who expressed for a couple of months and fed all the breast milk we could to our babies?
Take your £200 scheme, put it in the bank, and help everyone who needs it
I hope things are different next time time round and that I will be able to breastfeed. Will I be expecting £200 to do so? No! Would I like at least £200 to be spend to give some extra help for people, like me, to get the help they so desperately want and need? Yes. What about using that money to better educate people?
I am so angry with this. Gutted. I thought I had accepted having to bottle feed and at times I am happy enough but there is still that huge part of baby years I missed out on (and labour, and natural birth, aaaaah).
So NHS I say take your £200 scheme and put it into the bank and look at and help those people who want it but are out with the criteria of your begging scheme!