Voucher incentives for region’s breastfeeding mums

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Breastfeeding mum
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New mums across the region will be offered shopping vouchers if they breastfeed their baby.

Some 6,000 women with babies born after February 18 will be offered up to £120 in vouchers if they breastfeed for six weeks, and a further £80 is they continue for six months.

The vouchers are being offered in specific areas of Sheffield, Rotherham, Chesterfield, North Derbyshire and Bassetlaw, as listed below.

The ‘vouchers for breastfeeding’ scheme is part of the Nourishing Start for Health (NOSH) trial being conducted by researchers at the University of Sheffield along with Dundee and Brunel.

Vouchers will be offered in wards with low breastfeeding rates - and these wards will then be compared with similar wards where the scheme is not being offered.

Principal investigator Dr Clare Relton, from the University of Sheffield’s School of Health and Related Research, said: “Lots of women want to breastfeed their babies, but breastfeeding takes effort and mums need to be supported.

“The feedback we received from mums in the three feasibility sites was that they felt that the scheme rewarded their efforts.

“This pioneering trial will help us find out if offering shopping vouchers for breastfeeding will support these mums in areas with low breastfeeding rates.”

It is estimated the NHS could save £17 million a year in hospital admissions and GP visits is women breastfed for longer.

Breastfeeding has a wide range of benefits for both mothers and babies and can help to prevent illnesses in children.

However, rates in the UK are among the lowest in the world. In some areas, only 12 per cent of babies are receiving any breast milk by the time they are six weeks old.

The wide-scale trial builds on the success of the initial feasibility phase, which was launched in three neighbourhood areas in Sheffield, Chesterfield and Rotherham in 2013. More than 200 - over half of - eligible mothers signed up.

To find out if they are eligible, mums should ask their midwife or health visitor. A postcode checker for the scheme is also available on the NOSH website.

n For more information visit www.noshvouchers.org

Areas to receive vouchers

Doncaster

Armthorpe; Askern Spa; Bentley; Central; Great North Road; Mexborough; Sprotbrough; Thorne; and Town Moor.

Sheffield

Firth Park; Manor Neighbourhood; Mosborough; Richmond; Southey; and Woodhouse.

North Derbyshire

Barrow Hill and New Whittington; Bolsover North Wes; Clay Cross South; Clowne South; Hollingwood and Inkersall; Killamarsh West; Loundsley Green; Lowgates and Woodthorpe; Matlock St Giles; Moor; North Wingfield Central; Old Whittington; Pinxton; Pleasley; Rother; Scarcliffe; Shirebrook Langwith; and South Normanton East.

Rotherham

Anston & Woodsetts; Boston Castle; Holderness; Hoober; Maltby Township; Rother Vale; Rotherham East; Silverwood; Sitwell; Wath; and Wingfield.

Bassetlaw

East Retford East; East Retford South; Tuxford and Trent; Worksop North; and Worksop North West.