Earn free cash with your breasts
We’re always on the lookout for new and interesting ways to make money here at Bitterwallet, so this latest Government-funded initiative really caught our eye. And not (just) because it’s related to female body parts. The problem is that it’s well, a bit niche, as you need to be a breastfeeding mother in order to get the cash for, well, doing what comes naturally. Yes, breastfeeding is what breasts are actually for.
In a new pilot scheme, breastfeeding mothers in deprived areas of Sheffield and Chesterfield will get paid £200 in shopping vouchers for breastfeeding their child in a scheme co-funded by the government and medical research organisations. The aim is to improve the breastfeeding rates in these areas, where the average rate of breastfeeding is just 25% at 6-8 weeks, compared with a national average of 55%. If the scheme is successful, a national scheme could be rolled out next year.
Operation of breastfeeding will be confirmed by midwives and health visitors, and the full £200 will only be paid after six months of breastfeeding, although those stopping after 6-8 weeks should pocket up to £120.
Dr Clare Relton, of Sheffield University who are leading the project said she hoped the financial incentives would create a culture where breastfeeding was seen as the norm.
"It is a way of acknowledging both the value of breastfeeding to babies, mothers and society," she added.
But Janet Fyle, of the Royal College of Midwives, was less impressed:
"The motive for breastfeeding cannot be rooted by offering financial reward. It has to be something that a mother wants to do in the interest of the health and well-being of her child."
Breastfeeding should appeal to those on lower incomes as there is no need to pay for formula milks, bottles and sterilising equipment, not withstanding the oft-quoted health benefits for the baby. But, as the statistics themselves show, financial considerations are unlikely to form a large part of any decision-making process in deciding whether or not to breastfeed. However, rewarding those who do will presumably contribute to a generally more positive view of doing it.
Besides, breastfeeding for money is not actually new- wet nurses were very popular in Victorian times and are still seen as a symbol of status in some areas of China. Still, the scheme is likely to be unpopular with those who don’t, or can’t breastfeed, and with those wondering why people should get paid to feed their own children…