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Home Industry News Financial incentives ‘may help improve breastfeeding rates among new mothers’

Financial incentives ‘may help improve breastfeeding rates among new mothers’

12th December 2017

Low breastfeeding rates could be improved by offering financial incentives to new mothers, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Sheffield and the University of Dundee involved more than 10,000 new mothers across South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire in a study that provided them with shopping vouchers if they breastfed their babies.

Vouchers worth up to 120 pounds were offered if their babies received breastmilk at two days, ten days and six weeks old, with a further 80 pounds of vouchers available if children continued to receive breastmilk for up to six months.

This scheme was shown to be associated with an increase of six percentage points in breastfeeding levels in areas where it was offered, with 46 percent of all eligible mothers signing up and more than 40 percent claiming at least one voucher.

Given that breastfeeding levels in the UK are some of the lowest in the world, this strategy could have positive implications for public health.

Lead investigator Dr Clare Relton, from the University of Sheffield's school of health and related research, said: "It seems that the voucher scheme helped mothers to breastfeed for longer. Mothers reported they felt rewarded for breastfeeding."

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