14/08/2014 16:55 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Paid To Breastfeed: Mums To Get £200 Voucher Incentive To Breastfeed

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A new scheme giving mums £200 of high street vouchers if they breastfeed is being trialled in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire.

The pilot scheme will involve 130 mums in those two key areas, but if successful it could be rolled out nationally.

Local mums will be given up to £200 to spend in stores including ASDA, Tesco, John lewis, and, er, Poundland if they breastfeed their babies.

The trial – which has started today (Tuesday, November 12) – sees new mums offered £40 in vouchers if they breastfeed for two days, and another £40 if they breastfeed for 10 days. Another £40 is offered if they continue to breastfeed for six weeks.

A further £40 will be given if they are still breastfeeding at three months, and another £40 will be offered at six months.

Although there is no way to 'prove' if women are breastfeeding, they will be required to fill in a form, which will be signed by their midwife in order to qualify for the vouchers.

The scheme is being run by researchers from Sheffield and Dundee universities,

Dr Clare Relton, of the University of Sheffield, said: "We think there are benefits to babies, mums and to society for breastfeeding. We are exploring one particular way that might improve breastfeeding rates."

However Janet Fyle, of the Royal College of Midwives, commented: "Whilst we are not against financial incentives for the right reasons, there is a much bigger social and cultural problem here that needs to be tackled instead.

"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."

Britain has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Europe – only a third of women feed for the recommended six months.

What do you think of the scheme?