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Shopping voucher incentive helps increase low rates of breastfeeding

Providing a financial incentive to mothers can significantly improve breastfeeding rates in areas where they are historically low, a study shows

Providing a financial incentive to mothers can significantly improve breastfeeding rates in areas where they are historically low, a study shows.

Researchers from the universities of Sheffield and Dundee offered shopping vouchers worth up to 120 to 10,000 new mothers across South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire if they breastfed their babies at two days, 10 days and six weeks old.

A further 80 of vouchers were given if the babies continued to be breastfed at six months old.

Information was collected during routine assessments of babies health by professionals including health visitors.

17m

Encouraging mothers to breastfeed for up to 18 months could save the NHS 17 million a year in the cost of treating infant diseases.

Source: NHS Choices

After the trial, the breastfeeding rate for the three areas rose by 6%, compared with non-trial

...

Picture: iStock

Providing a financial incentive to mothers can significantly improve breastfeeding rates in areas where they are historically low, a study shows.

Researchers from the universities of Sheffield and Dundee offered shopping vouchers worth up to £120 to 10,000 new mothers across South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire if they breastfed their babies at two days, 10 days and six weeks old.

A further £80 of vouchers were given if the babies continued to be breastfed at six months old.

Information was collected during routine assessments of babies’ health by professionals including health visitors.

£17m

Encouraging mothers to breastfeed for up to 18 months could save the NHS £17 million a year in the cost of treating infant diseases.

Source: NHS Choices

After the trial, the breastfeeding rate for the three areas rose by 6%, compared with non-trial areas, from 32% to 38%.

Professor of mother and infant health at the University of Dundee and study co-author Mary Renfrew said ‘societal barriers’ made it particularly difficult for women to breastfeed.

She said: ‘In the UK these include the difficulty some women encounter when breastfeeding in public, widespread misleading marketing that formula is equivalent to breastfeeding, a lack of high quality services to prevent and treat any problems, a lack of community and workplace support, and a lack of education about breastfeeding for young children.'


Relton C et al (2017) Effect of Financial Incentives on Breastfeeding: A Cluster Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Pediatrics. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.4523

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