As formulas go, it cannot be rivalled. Nothing man can invent can be as good for a baby as its mother’s milk.
Yet an alarmingly high percentage of new mothers choose not to breast-feed. At a time when we’re insisting on eating pure, natural, hand-made food, some women are determined the first nutrition their children get comes out of a tin,
Health experts are desperate to find a way to encourage new mothers to breast-feed. So now they’re paying them to do it.
A test scheme in Sheffield and Derbyshire will pay mothers shopping vouchers worth £120 if they breast-feed for six weeks and a further £80 if they continue to six months. The intention of the NOSH scheme, run by researchers at Sheffield University, is to get women to see how fulfilling it is. And breast milk protects children from illness and their mothers from breast cancer. A savings double-whammy for the NHS.
But offering a cash incentive leaves a sour taste with me. Women have the right to choose how they bring up their children - and how they use their bodies. Plus it’s discrimination. Many would dearly love to be able to breast-feed, but can’t.
Worse, though, this scheme implies the women more likely to bottle-feed are hard-up moneygrabbers who will ditch their opinions the minute someone waves a fistful of Matalan vouchers under their noses. If money was uppermost in their minds, wouldn’t they choose to feed their babies on the breast - seeing as it’s free?
The real reason women don’t want to do it? They’ve been spoonfed a body image obsession and it has overtaken their instinct to nurture. They have boob jobs which, ironically, make breasts look as swollen as a nursing mother’s, yet they’re squeamish about breast-feeding and think it will ruin their bodies.
Who do they think breasts are best for? Their men.