A change in attitude towards breastfeeding in public may be more effective in increasing breastfeeding rates instead of the use of financial incentives, according to ITV News viewers.
New mothers in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire will be offered financial incentives to breastfeed their children to combat the "worrying" low rates of breastfeeding in the UK.
We asked ITV News viewers their thoughts on the proposal.
Here are a selection of their views:
– Diana Rae
It is not cash incentives breastfeeding Mums need - it is tolerence from everyone else. More places need to encourage breastfeeding not look down their noses as if it is something disgusting and unnatural.
– Rebecca Hunt
Surely if it was about money, more women would breast feed, its free! No need for expensive baby formula, sterilisers, bottles etc. It's also quicker, its instant! No need to make bottles and wait for them to cool. Obviously something else is putting women off. We should look at our attitudes towards breast feeding in public. Not make those women who cant breast feed feel even worse.
– Amy Dalrymple
I think this is terrible to be honest. This money should be used to provide support for the mothers who want to breastfeed. 90% of women who stop breastfeeding do so before they wanted to. This is usually down to lack of support and information!
A financial reward scheme to improve breastfeeding rates should not be condemned until there is clear evidence of whether it is effective, a professor has warned.
Mothers will be rewarded with shopping vouchers if they breastfeed their babies as part of a new scheme to increase rates in the UK - which experts claim has one of the worst breastfeeding rates in the world.
Susan Jebb, professor of diet and population health at the University of Oxford, said that despite years of campaigning on the long-term benefits of breastfeeding, rates are still low and socially patterned.
"Financial incentives have proved modestly effective in changing some other health-related behaviours, but it is not clear whether this might enhance breastfeeding rates, especially the maintenance of breastfeeding," she said.
"We need a public conversation about whether this should be adopted into policy. It's important not to condone or condemn this until we have clear evidence of whether or not it may be effective."
Following the announcement that new mothers are to be paid to breastfeed as part of a scheme to boost low rates of breastfeeding, ITV News viewers have been giving their opinions on the issue on our Facebook page:
– Emma Ruddick
Breastfeeding is the most natural thing ever, education on the reasons why would be more efficient, and help to mums who cannot! How ridiculous are 'cash incentives'. It should be done with love and the 'wanting to' incentive not because there's money involved.
– Paul Lafferty
How would they monitor and prove it?
– Melanie Luce
If it promotes breastfeeding, which is after all the best food for a baby, then there is a positive but the incentive should be educating a new mum about the benefits, both healthwise and financially.
Visit ITV News' Facebook page to give your views on the issue
The motive for breastfeeding should not be rooted in financial reward, a leading policy adviser has said.
Janet Fyle, professional policy advisor at the Royal College of Midwives, said while she was not completely against financial incentives, there are larger social and cultural issues that needed to be addressed to increase breastfeeding rates.
"In many areas, including those in this study, there are generations of women who may not have seen anyone breastfeeding their baby, meaning it is not the cultural norm in many communities.
"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 child."
Ms Fyle said "worrying" low rates of breastfeeding could be reversed through investment in midwives and in improving ante-natal and post-natal care.
Researchers at the University of Sheffield said women in the UK feel stigmatised by breastfeeding, despite being aware of the "breast is best" health message.
Despite numerous attempts to encourage new mothers to breastfeed their babies, rates remain stubbornly low in parts of the UK.
- 34% of UK babies are breastfed at six months
- Only 1% of babies are exclusively breastfed at this stage - despite recommendations from the NHS that breast milk contains all the nutrients a baby needs at this stage of development
The new study aimed at looking at ways to encourage more women to breastfeed by offering vouchers will be trialled in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire - in areas where breastfeeding uptake rates are low.
If the mothers breastfeed their children for a full six months they will receive £200 shopping vouchers - half for supermarkets and half for high street stores.
The vouchers, which are being funded by the National Prevention Research Initiative, will be distributed in five stages of £40 each.
Encouraging more women to breastfeed their newborn babies would save the NHS money, as babies who are breastfed are healthier, and less likely to develop obesity, according to Dr Clare Relton from the University of Sheffield.
The UK has one of the worst breastfeeding rates in the world, with breastfeeding rates varying significantly, depending on where you live, scientists from the University of Sheffield said.
In a new feasibility study which will see women being given vouchers for breastfeeding, Dr Clare Relton said it was vital to look into creative ways to boost the levels of breastfeeding across the UK.
The UK has one of the worst breastfeeding rates in the world and breastfeeding rates vary very widely across different parts of the country.
If you are a six-week-old baby the chances of you being breastfed vary depending on where you live. If you live in an affluent area you are four times more likely to be breastfed than if you live in a deprived area.
Babies who are breastfed have fewer health problems such as upset tummies and chest infections, and are less likely to develop diabetes and obesity when they are older. Breast milk is perfectly designed for babies and provides all they need for the first six months of their life.
A number of new mothers are to be paid to breastfeed their babies as part of a new research project examining whether or not uptake rates will increase if the women are offered financial incentives.
The scheme, which will see women being given vouchers for Matalan, John Lewis and Mothercare, as well as supermarkets, is examining ways to boost low rates of breastfeeding.
The new study is to be trialled in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire - in areas where breastfeeding uptake rates are low.