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Eating well from birth to five


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July 2015

Welcome to the First Steps Nutrition Trust July newsletter.

Hello July

It is hard to believe we are into the second half of the year now, and like many others, we are reviewing our 2015 ‘to do’ list.  As always we are keen to hear how we can support any of our newsletter subscribers with new information or resources – so do get in touch!

We have welcomed a number of summer interns this month to help us finish some work, get ready for new projects and to plan an event to celebrate our 5th birthday next Spring. Watch this space!

Infant Milk News

A new June 2015 version of Infant milks in the UK: A practical guide for health professionals is now available
Infant Milks in the UK - May 2015
This version is now in a simpler format so will be easier to print out and update.

Some hard copy ‘master copies’ are now available to buy with bespoke dividers – you just supply an A4 file with a plastic front cover, slot in the front page and then the rest of the resource is ring binder ready.
Create your infant milk folder 1



If we change any pages we will tell you exactly which pages to replace so you are always up-to-date.

Create your Infant milk folder 2


You can buy these from our usual distribution site for £25. If you want to print out your own version on a photocopier then you can buy the cover and the dividers for £10 to make your own bespoke version. This will work for all further updates.

Create your Infant milk folder 3


We don’t make a profit on our resources but some cost more if they involve assembly and hand finishing at the printers like this one. If you can print out your own and just use our cover and dividers that is the cheaper option!


Specialised infant milks in the UK: Infants 0-6 months
A practical guide for health professionals
The first draft of this resource is now available. We welcome any comments on the content, scope and areas covered.
Specialised Infant Milks in the UK: 0-6 months. A guide for health professionals We will produce a first version of this report later in the year, and, as with the Infant Milks in the UK report, this will be developmental over time.

We will continue to collect as much information as we can from manufacturers about their products and the evidence they use to support any claims they make.

If you have any comments please send them to

New resource in production
Eating well: the first year
A guide to complementary feeding and eating well up to baby's first birthday
Eating well: the first year We are busy finishing off this new resource which we hope to complete and send out for review in the next few weeks.

Hopefully it will be available to everyone at the end of this summer and will fill an important gap in practical support for all those who work with families with infants.

The Breastfeeding network logo

The Summer newsletter from Cow & Gate for health professionals plopped into my in-tray this month – a ‘Summer Digestive’ Special.

The newsletter claims to offer ‘a newsletter packed with content promoting best practice in digestive care for infants throughout their first months of life


The links they offer are to articles promoting the use of prebiotics and probiotics in infant formula – as in the quotes taken from their articles below:

For infants who are not breastfed, mums can encourage the development of beneficial bacteria in the gut by choosing a formula that contains either: 

  1. Prebiotic oligosaccharide supplements: non-digestible carbohydrates that selectively stimulate the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria.

  2. Probiotics: a culture of live bacteria.

    So regardless of how a mum chooses to feed her baby, she can help take care of her baby on the inside as well as the outside. 

    Some infant formulas contain prebiotic oligosaccharides to improve their gut bacteria-promoting effects. This has been shown to have a number of benefits in infants: 
  • Discourages the growth of harmful pathogens
  • Promotes healthy digestion, as indicated by softer more frequent stools
  • Improves feeding tolerance, with significantly less regurgitation and crying in connection with feeding
Despite no claims being allowed in the EU for the efficacy of prebiotics or probiotics in infant formula on health over many years, companies ignore the evidence of robust scientific bodies to continue making their own claims.

It has been clearly stated by the European Food Safety Authority – an independent body of experts who have looked at all the evidence on the role of prebiotics and probiotics in formula (not just a couple cherry-picked by Danone to back up their claims) that:

“There is insufficient evidence for beneficial effects on infant health of the oligosaccharides (prebiotics) that have been tested to date in RCTs when added to infant or follow-on formula.”

And that:

"the evidence for any benefit of probiotics on infant health comes from single studies and studies with methodological limitations, and concludes that there is no evidence for beneficial effects and that these are not necessary additions to infant and follow-on formula".


We have no recourse to challenge the claims made by companies on websites and newsletters as these are considered ‘scientific and factual’ information to health professionals in law. We have asked Danone about whether they will alter their website claims for ingredients that EFSA has said are ‘not necessary’ – but they have no plans to do so, simply regretting that the ‘opinion’ differs from their own.

Misinformation to parents too……

And Thank You to Helen Calvert, the wonderful @HeartMummy, who promotes breastfeeding in hospitals (and has a great blog you can read here) for the following from a recent Cow & Gate newsletter to parents:

Cow & Gate advice

The one thing that health professional groups WORLDWIDE agree, is that there is no need for follow-on formula. Cow & Gate are giving misleading information to parents, and advice in the UK is that a first whey-based formula is the only milk needed throughout the first year of life if babies are not breastfed.

The WHO statement on follow-on formula can be accessed here:
So our message to parents and health professionals ...

Dont listen

Just don’t listen!
Avoid any marketing materials produced by formula manufacturers and use independent sources of information.

We have a list of good organisations that provide information on infant and young child feeding here.

Other news:
On Saturday July 11th the Vegetarian Society are holding a conference KIN2015 in Manchester.

You can find out more about it at:
Kin 2015
Tickets cost £20 (£10 for concessions) and there will be a host of speakers talking about health, the environment, animals and practical aspects of vegetarian diets. Our director Helen Crawley will be talking about plant based diets in the early years.
Looking ahead ...
First Steps Nutrition Trust will be at Babble live! - the NCT annual conference in Coventry, Saturday 26th September, and at the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly conference in Harrogate, November 18th and 19th.
Kin 2015



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