Heard this yesterday morning. Nearly fell off chair. As cynical and manipulative initiatives go, this ticks several boxes.

It adds insult to injury that the scheme is being tried out among “disadvantaged” women on low incomes, whose breastfeeding rates are lowest of all. The thinking seems to be that these are the people who can be told what to do. - , theguardian:

Unless you’ve been living on another planet the last few years, here’s one thing you’ll be certain about. Breast is best. Babies who are breastfed are less likely to get infections in their early months; probably won’t get diarrhoea or constipation, which is virtually unknown; and are at lower risk of eczema. When weaned, they are more likely to enjoy the taste of solid food. As they grow up, their IQ is higher, and they are less likely to need orthodontic treatment. As adults they have lower cholesterol, and a reduced risk of diabetes or obesity.

It’s not just babies: mothers who breastfeed are healthier. They’re at lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and postnatal depression. If ever nature gave us a key to improving health now and into the future, this would surely be it. So it has to follow that as a society we should be doing all we can to encourage every new mother to do it.

That presumably is the thinking behind a study being run in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire where, we learned today,mothers are being offered shopping vouchersworth up to £120 if their babies are breastfed to six weeks, and a further £80 if they’re fed to six months.

I fed each of my four babies until the age of three. I think it’s tragic that more women don’t do it, and I believe low breastfeeding rates in Britain are a scandal. In fact, I never imagined I’d end up writing a piece against a project designed to promote the practice. But I think this idea is just about the worst pro-breastfeeding initiative I’ve come across. In fact, I don’t think it’s pro-breastfeeding at all: I think it’s a patronising, naive, ill-thought-out gesture. [Rest.]