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December 2014

Welcome to the last newsletter of 2014.

This month we have a new resource available: Breastmilk and breastfeeding: A simple guideand you can find out more about this below.

We have also made some more changes to this website which will hopefully make it easier to find information.

As we gathered a lot of new subscribers throughout the year we thought we would do a brief summary of what we covered in our newsletters across the year this month – and end with some of our plans for 2015. As a very small and virtual organisation we sometimes don’t manage to achieve everything we think we will each month, but we will endeavor to round up any stray topics and report on them in early 2015.

Wishing everyone a very Happy Christmas and New Year

Xmas pear

The First Steps Team

New Resources

Breastmilk and breastfeeding: A simple guide

Eating well for new mums

This simple guide which is now available on the website is a short summary of why breastfeeding matters to mums, babies and the world we live in, and provides up to date links to breastfeeding support organisations in the UK.

We plan to produce a range of resources over the next few months that can be used with families in UNICEF Baby Friendly working environments. There is no need for anyone to use materials on infant and young child health produced by commercial companies, and we will be producing a list of excellent resources that can be used early next year.

2014 News Round-Up


Making the Most of Healthy Start Eating Well for a healthy pregnancy In January we launched two new publications Making the most of Healthy Start: A practical guide and Eating well in pregnancy: A simple guide for teenagers. We also produced an information sheet on good sources of information on fussy eating.

We reported on a new ruling against Nutricia (Cow & Gate) by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and gave details of how misleading advertising of formula milks can be reported.


Eating Well for a Healthy Pregnancy We launched ‘Eating well for a healthy pregnancy: A practical guideand highlighted work from The European Food Safety Agency which made it clear there is no nutritional need for growing up milks aimed at children over 1 year of age.

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Infant Milks in the UK In March the new 'Infant milks in the UK: A practical guide for health professionals' provided up to date information on recent changes to the infant milk market including information on:

  • Goats’ milk based infant formula and growing up milk
  • Partially hydrolysed whey based formula (SMA H.A.)
  • PaediaSure Shake
  • Aluminium in infant formula Links to UNICEF baby friendly advice on bottle feeding
Websites & Organisations We also updated the resource 'Websites and organisations that are funded by the formula milk industry

This month we also highlighted the work of IBFAN, the International Baby Feeding Action Network. And Baby Milk Action who represent IBFAN in the UK.

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During the spring and early summer we reported on new changes to the infant milks market and any conflicts of interest we spotted and did a further update to the Infant Milks in the UK report to reflect market changes.

We reported on the European Food Safety Agency infant milk composition draft report and highlighted a number of claims currently made about infant milks for which there is no accepted evidence.

Best Beginnings logo We also highlighted some new resources from regional health departments in Wales and Northern Ireland that support breastfeeding and appropriate infant feeding and the work of Best Beginnings, a charity that offers independent and expert support to families around infant care, through resources, films and apps.

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Eating Well: Infants and under-5s In July we launched our resource 'Eating well: vegan infants and under 5s'.

We also highlighted a ruling against Danone on growing up milk claims and put up a statement on growing up milks here on the website.

We also championed the work of the Institute of Health Visitors, and the new series of factsheets for professionals and families.

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August was our third birthday and we launched the 'Eating well recipe book'.
Eating well recipe book - inside peep
EFSA log
We also reported on the new European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) report on the composition of infant formula. This supports all the statements we make in our about the non-necessity and lack of efficacy of many ingredients used in infant milk about which claims are made, and clearly states:
‘The addition[of ingredients] in amounts higher than those serving a benefit, or the inclusion of unnecessary substances in formulae, may put a burden on the infant’s metabolism and/or on other physiological functions, as substances which are not used or stored have to be excreted’.

We also reported on some infant milk analysis we undertook over the summer at Kingston University– this data is still in the in-tray and we will be coming back to this topic again in 2015.

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In September we summarised some of the new resources we have in the pipeline inclucing a resource on packed lunches for 1-4 year olds and a report highlighting what civil society wants from the baby feeding industry.
We also gave details of the film Tigers, which will be on general release in 2015, and which tells the story of a Nestle whistle blower in India.

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Right formula for my baby We published the second in our reviews of parental discussions about infant formula on webs based chat forums I just want to find the right formula for my baby highlighting the increasing concern parents have about finding the right milk for their infant, fuelled by the increase in ‘specialist’ products available over the counter.

We will be doing a campaign in the new year to ask UK health departments to strengthen current legislation to remove infant milk products which are only intended for use under medical supervision from general sale.

We also reported on an ASA ruling against ASDA and Cow & Gate (Danone)  growing up milks, and highlighted the misleading promotion of soy based formula for vegetarian infants, again by Cow & Gate.

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Eating well for new mums Infant milks: A simple guide New resources this month included 'Eating well for new mums: Including information for breastfeeding mothers', and 'Infant milks: A simple guide to infant formula, follow-on formula and other infant milks'.

We highlighted our experience at the CPHVA conference and the high spend by infant formula companies on their activities to win health professional approval for their products.

We also updated the resource Organisations and websites funded by the formula milk industry

We also highlighted the excellent work of Maternity Action and gave details of the new Healthy Start Alliance website.
Back to top Maternity Action Healthy Start Alliance logo


What will we do in 2015?

  • In 2015 we will continue with updating our rolling reports on infant milk composition, keep other current publications updated and bring out new resources to support those working in infant and young child public health.

  • Our aim is to ensure that we provide an alternative for any resource that is currently provided by infant milk funded organisations so that health professionals always have a ‘Baby friendly’ alternative to use.

  • We will continue to comment on national and international reports, resources and regulations and highlight misleading information and claims made.

  • We hope to reinvigorate our sister campaign Action on Additives and bring in new people and organisations to support the Healthy Start Alliance, and be ready to act should the welfare food scheme look at risk from changes to benefit systems.

  • As a small organisation we are able to be responsive to changing situations and information and we will work where we can within our overall aim to protect breastfeeding and promote good nutrition from pre-conception to five years. We are always happy to get suggestions for work that would be of value to those working to promote good public health in this area, so do get in touch if you have any bright ideas.


First Steps Nutrition Trust offers information and resources to support good nutrition from pre-conception to 5 years.
Our aim is to produce clear and independent resources to support people who want to know more about eating well before and during pregnancy, eating well for infants and young children, and food composition and food quality.

First Steps Nutrition Trust takes no industry funding. We are funded through charitable trusts and donations. We aim to provide a one-stop shop for useful and accurate evidence-based information on good nutrition from pre-conception to five years.
First Steps mother and baby
First Step Nutrition Trust's newsletter will be published regularly to promote information and awareness of the importance of good nutrition from pre-conception to 5 years and to highlight the work of the Trust.
Registered Charity No: 114640