Paid to Breastfeed?

Childbirth and breastfeeding affirms the power of a woman. Bringing forth another human being is glorious while feeding your baby with your own milk is divine. Your newborn deserves nothing but the best in nutrition which can only be provided by breastmilk. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), “Breastmilk is widely acknowledged as the most complete form of nutrition for infants’ health, growth, immunity, and development.” Breastfeeding certainly has wide advantages for both mom and baby both health-wise and economically. Most busy working moms would opt to feed their infants formula milk to be able to speedily get back to work after a few weeks following  childbirth. This is regarded as hassle-free and convenient but is it beneficial to your baby? Although it is acceptable to feed your babies formula milk, top nourishment can only be provided by purely breastfeeding your infant at least for the first year of life and continue until both are ready to stop – this is according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). It is also recommended that babies exclusively breastfeed during the first six months of life and then integrate solid food with breastmilk for the first year or so.

There are numerous benefits derived from breastfeeding which one cannot get from second-best formula milk preparations. For one, the emotional ties of both mom and baby is greatly enhanced by the breastfeeding process. This also strengthens the body’s immune defenses against harmful antigens. More so, incidences of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is found to be lower or close to null on breastfed babies in contrast to those who are formula-fed. For moms, this is economically practical because it’s free. You get to save up on formula milk and instead spend it on other baby essentials or perhaps start funding your baby’s education. Also, if you want to lose the pregnancy weight, breastfeeding helps you trim off those unwanted pounds faster than any slimming pill.

According to recent data gathered by the Center for Disease Control – the dilemma faced by a lot of major health organizations is that only around 49% of new mothers in the United States are able to breastfeed their babies in the first six months after delivery. Still, only 27% of these babies are nursed by their moms until babies turn a year older. This prompted health experts and pediatricians to test and keep on finding ways to increase the awareness and support for breastfeeding. One attractive idea comes from a program which is currently undergoing tests in England which actually pays moms to nurse their babies. UK researchers of this program offer $310 worth of vouchers to moms upon agreement to breastfeed their babies for at least six months.The vouchers entitle moms to free toys, household products, and food. This cash-for-nursing scheme is nothing new in England because similar programs have already been put in place which has actually been proven successful in promoting breastfeeding awareness and affinity in the country. With its continued success and duplication in efforts, the program also raked in shares of critics and detractors which sees such programs as form of bribery.

Will putting in cash to promote widespread support for nursing babies be just as effective in the United States as it is in England or other parts of the world? It’s definitely worth a shot. Breastfeeding for cash gives moms and babies a win-win scenario because of the health and financial rewards that mom and baby team can get from breastfeeding. There is a similar program in the United States according to Dr. Deborah Campbell of Children’s Hotel in New York City which also has been very successful for years now – the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program which is funded by the government. This started as early as 1970 and aims to amplify as well as increase the number of moms who breastfeed. This works on fairly the same principle, they offer breastfeeding women under low-income bracket vouchers that they can redeem for food at varied grocery stores.

The deep-seated issue faced in the US regarding breastfeeding is not really on convincing women to nurse their babies but more on providing them enough support and motivation to go on with breastfeeding for the recommended period of time. There is not enough breastfeeding support programs or even nursing-friendly facilities or environment that help promote breastfeeding. There is a need for more lactation professionals or even breast bumps especially for working moms. Dr. Campbells stresses that “We also don’t have a social structure in this country that supports nursing moms, who are still being asked to stop when they breastfeed in public, and in some cases even arrested.

Moms do understand that it breastfeeding is the healthiest way to nourish their babies. It’s basic and very elementary. They need a strong government and societal support with the facilities and tools that they can readily tap into whenever they find a blind spot along the way. The government needs to understand though that more than just cash or vouchers for nursing, moms need a culture or society that helps and guides moms in their breastfeeding journey.