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Infant feeding
an overview

Eating well is essential for infants from the first day of life. Breast milk is the natural food for a human infant, and breast feeding ensures all the infants nutrient needs are met, encourages optimum development, resistance to infection and allows a close and loving bond to develop between mother and child.

In order to protect breastfeeding it is important that all those who offer advice to families have accurate and unbiased information about infant feeding, including clear information about infant formula. First Steps Nutrition Trust were the first charity to provide a clear and updated guide for health professionals which summarises infant formula available in the UK, and this is widely used by health professionals and policy makers across the UK. We also provide information on fortified milks for children over the age of 1 year and highlight why these milks are both unnecessary, and a potential risk to health, in our resource Fortified milks for children. In order to encourage health professionals to only use information from independent sources and avoid those that are sponsored by formula milk companies, we produce a regularly updated resource which highlights websites and organisations to avoid and promote the work of Baby Feeding Law Group and Baby Milk Action. New information supporting new and breastfeeding mums to eat well is also available on our website, and details of all these resources can be found below.

Infant milks in the UK: A practical guide for health professionals

Click on the report cover to download:
Infant milks in the UK

The May 2014 version of the report Infant Milks in the UK is now available to download and contains the latest information on milks available for infants and children in the UK, with clear independent guidance on their suitability.

This report is now widely used by health professionals across the UK and is supported by UNICEF, The Welsh Assembly, The Baby Feeding Law Group, The Royal College of Midwives, The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and many others.

There are some changes to milks available on the market and new information is available in the report on:

  • Goats' milk based infant formula and growing up milk
  • PaediaSure Shake marketed for fussy eaters from 1 year
  • Partially hydrolysed formula marketed to prevent eczema
  • New formulations of growing up milks
  • Aluminium in infant milks
  • Links to WHO Baby Friendly guidance

Fortified milks for children: A worldwide review of fortified milks marketed for children over 1 year

Click on the report cover to download:
Fortified milks for children This new report has been compiled to support international work considering regulation and composition of fortified milks for older children and highlights:

  • Concerns about voluntary fortification of foods and drinks for infants and children
  • The range of fortified milk products being marketed worldwide
  • The ingredients being used and their usefulness
  • The sugar content of fortified milks
  • The claims being made to encourage their use

Fortified milks are frequently high in sugar and are likely to contribute to higher energy intakes, which may contribute to chronic disease, and the voluntary fortification of foods and drinks needs to be questioned as there is increasing evidence that giving additional nutrients to those who do not need them may have adverse consequences.

Fortified milks for older children are being irresponsibly marketed to vulnerable population groups worldwide, and stricter and clearer guidance is needed for International, national and local health departments to ensure that recommendations and regulations can be tightened. In Australia infant feeding guidelines clearly state that fortified milks are not needed for healthy children over 1 year of age, and we would like to see a similar recommendation adopted in all areas.

We will be updating this report as we are sent further information and hope that all countries will consider compiling up to date reports for themselves so that health professionals and others in all areas can have independent advice on what these products contain.

We are very grateful to The A Team Foundation for funding the production of this report.

We have a few hard copies of this report available for sale at cost price plus postage and packing.

To order copies go to the website or follow the direct link here.

If you have any queries please contact:

Look What They're DoingBaby Milk Action and Baby Feeding Law Group have a new summary out ‘Look what they’re doing!’ which summarises activities of infant milk companies in the UK which stretch the rules or break the rules of the WHO Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes (and subsequent resolutions).

This can be downloaded here

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Websites and organisations that are funded by the formula milk industry
We have compiled a downloadable short report which summarises the organisations and websites that are funded by the formula milk industry and which provide information to health professionals.

It is interesting to note that many of these sites provide information that is out of date, is not in line with Government recommendations and which are clearly product promoting. We hope that health professionals will seek independent expert advice rather than rely on information and training that comes from agencies funded by formula milk company PR budgets, and we make suggestions of independent sites to visit.
Websites and organisations that are funded by the formula milk industry
Professional organisations should reflect when endorsing training schemes or taking funding for training from formula milk companies as this undermines the credibility of their members.

We hope that other charities, NGO, professional groups and policy making groups will consider conflicts of interest carefully when they employ experts who also take funding from formula milk companies.

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Coming soon

Eating well for new mums: Including information for breastfeeding mothers

Eating well for breastfeeding mothers There is currently little clear and consistent information and advice to women who are breastfeeding about how to eat well.  

This report will provide clear practical guidance for women who are exclusively breastfeeding and those who may choose to use both breast milk and formula milk to feed their babies.

The guide will also provide general information on how to eat safely when breastfeeding and how to ensure a healthy nutritional status for future pregnancies.
This resource has been through a longer than expected gestation period but is due out this Autumn (2014) 

Specialised infant formula in the UK

We are pleased that Sarah Weston and the British Dietetic Association paediatric committee has agreed to take over this resource, and we will circulate details when it is available.

You can contact Sarah at

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