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‘Midwives need more time to help women initiate and sustain breastfeeding says RCM’

11 December, 2017

‘Midwives need more time to help women initiate and sustain breastfeeding says RCM’

RCM responds to research on financial incentives for breastfeeding by the University of Sheffield and the University of Dundee.

A study published today by the University of Sheffield and the University of Dundee into financial incentives for breastfeeding has shown that offering new mothers financial incentives for breastfeeding may increase low breastfeeding rates.

More than 10,000 new mothers across South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire were involved in this study which offered shopping vouchers worth up to £120 if their babies received breastmilk (breastfeeding or expressed milk) at two days, 10 days and six weeks old. A further £80 of vouchers was available if their babies continued to receive breastmilk up to six months. 

 

Responding to the study, Gill Walton Chief Executive at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said; “The RCM is interested in the initial trial findings of this study. However, low breastfeeding rates in parts of the UK unfortunately indicate a much bigger social and cultural problem that needs to be tackled. There are some areas where many generations of women haven't been given the example of breastfeeding or offered the right support to enable them  to initiate and sustain breastfeeding if the can and chose to do so.

The RCM is interested in the initial findings of this study. However, low breastfeeding rates in parts of the UK unfortunately indicate a much bigger social and cultural problem that needs to be tackled. There are some areas where many generations of women haven't been given the example of breastfeeding or offered the right support to enable them  to initiate and sustain breastfeeding if the can and chose to do so.

“The RCM believes 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 baby and its growth into a child.

 “On similar incentivised schemes such as smoking cessation the RCM has said before that incentivising public health behaviour change through monetary reward is not ideal. Individuals would normally be interested in improving their health and the health of their families. If midwives and healthcare professional have enough time to spend with women to not only to offer them the information about the benefits that breastfeeding has for both mother and baby, but also to support them in starting this would help. Healthy Start vouchers are also very worthwhile and provide much needed provide nutritional support to mothers on low income. Sadly they are not being claimed by many those entitled to receive them.”

 

The trial findings are published in JAMA Pedriatrics

To view the full paper please visit: http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.4523
(Please note the link will only be live after the embargo lifts at 16:00 (GMT) 11 December 2017)

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For further information on this study please contact Amy Huxtable, Media Relations Officer, University of Sheffield, 0114 222 9859

 

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To contact the RCM Press Office call 020 7312 3456 or email pressofficer@rcm.org.uk

 

 

Notes to editors

 

 

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.

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