BREAST-FEEDING: Surely mums know best

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The NHS to ‘bribe’ new mothers to breast-feed with £200 shopping vouchers is one the most recent headlines I have seen.

Are they mad? Sorry but I find this abhorrent in the strongest possible way.

While I applaud all efforts in giving well-balanced sound advice to new mums about the benefits of breast-feeding over bottles, it is still very much a personal decision, and not one made lightly by any ‘to be’ mum.

From bitter experience I know how hard it is to come to the decision to bottle feed instead of breast-feed. One of the my children was breast-fed until three months by which stage I had simply had enough.

The other sadly had to be bottle-fed from three days due to personal reasons, not a decision I made lightly at all, and yet I was made to feel that I was letting him and myself down, and one was made to feel a ‘failure’ if it didn’t work or the idea was a no-no for whatever personal reason.

Breast-feeding is not for everyone, and for some it is simply a no-no from day one, yet now there is so much pressure to on mums to breast-feed.

The NHS is not helping mums by this attempt at bribery, besides how on earth are they going to ‘police’ it.

Are they going to have ‘inspectors’ turning up at new mums’ doors to test that they are indeed breast-feeding. Will they insist on watching? Sorry but to me it is a non-starter.

Far better would be to put better more balance information out about the pros and cons of breastfeeding against bottle -feeding, and let mums decide what they wish to do, without being made to feel that they are letting their children down by the decision they make.

Frankly bottle milk is extremely good nowadays and whilst it can’t give exactly the right formula in protection for newborns, it is not that far off.

Please, please give mums the benefit of knowing their own bodies and their own minds, you can’t force or intimidate someone into breast-feeding as it simply won’t work properly and all you would end up with is a frustrated, angry, worn-out mum, at a time when they are stressed enough, and a baby who is not getting want it wants or needs in a contented happy close way.

A very concerned mother of two.

Carole Rae,

East Lilburn Farm Cottages,