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Welcome to the penultimate newsletter of 2014 – and a particular welcome to the new subscribers we met at CPHVA14. We hope people find the emailed newsletter useful, but if you do want to unsubscribe then just scroll down to the bottom and click on the unsubscribe button.

This month we have a new resource: ‘Eating well for new mums: Including information for breastfeeding mothers’ and details of this can be found below.

We also have updated our report on ‘Websites and organisations funded by the formula industry’ and give a brief explanation of why it is so important that health professionals don’t take expert advice on infant and young child nutrition from commercial organisations.

We have also added links to the new Healthy Start Alliance, which you can find out more about below

New Resources

'Eating well for new mums: Including information for breastfeeding mothers'

Eating well for new mums

The report summarises the importance of eating well for all new mums and answers some FAQ new breastfeeding mums might have about eating and drinking well.

The resource provides ideas for snacks and drinks that also provide a range of other important nutrients, and complements the other resources we have produced which give practical ideas for eating well in pregnancy and for the whole family.

This report is now available to download (click on the cover), and hard copies are available at

Infant Milks: A simple guide to infant formula, follow-on formula and other infant milks

I just want to find the right formula for my baby

This simple guide which is now available to download (click on the cover) aims to answer questions about different types of infant milks and current infant feeding recommendations. 

It includes a summary of types of milk suitable by age, explains why these decisions are current policy and provides simple information on bottle feeding and making up milks safely.

We hope this will be useful for work with families, and the evidence base for this work can be found in our report 'Infant milks in the UK: A guide for health professionals

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Battling Commercial Influences

First Steps Nutrition Trust went to the CPHVA Annual Conference at the NEC Birmingham on November 5th and 6th 2014. The conference programme was excellent and it was great to meet so many interested and interesting HV, school nurses and community nurses. 

The unfair playing field between the formula companies and those representing public health in the exhibitors arena was, as usual shocking. It remains a challenge to explain to conference organisers and magazine publishers why there is no 'need' for health professionals to receive information on infant and young child feeding from commercial organisations in this way.

SMA stand

Our stand at the CPHVA conference was directly opposite the SMA (Nestlé) stand where (whilst making cocktails as a goodwill gesture) they were making claims for SMA H.A formula which is not UK policy.

SMA claim that this formula prevents eczema in 50% of infants at risk of allergy, not current UK policy (see our report Infant milks in the UK for an evidence based summary).

Interestingly their USA counterpart Gerber are being sued for making claims that formula can prevent allergies by the Federal Trade Commission in the US:


'The Federal Trade Commission has charged Gerber Products Co., also doing business as Nestlé Nutrition, with deceptively advertising that feeding its Good Start Gentle formula to infants with a family history of allergies prevents or reduces the risk that they will develop allergies'

Read more here

The only way to avoid potential deceptive advertising is for health professionals to ensure they only use expert information that has no commercial influence, and this is of course a necessity if you work in a UNICEF Baby Friendly Area.

Websites & Organisations funded by formula industry

We have updated our short summary of websites and organisations that are funded by the formula industry.

This also includes good websites to visit for information that is expert and independent, and we hope that health professionals will support colleagues to use this information and make it clear to commercial organisations that their information on infant and young child feeding is not needed.


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The Infant and Toddler Forum and Danone Nutricia

In the next newsletter we will be reviewing some of the resources produced by The Infant & Toddler Forum.

Infant and Toddler Forum

The Infant & Toddler Forum are Nutricia Danone Early Years Nutrition funded and are not a registered charity.  The work is managed by a 'secretariat' via a PR agency, with a number of health professionals acting as forum members and experts. 

As well as the Infant & Toddler Forum (which includes the Little People's Plates sub-site) Danone Nutricia support the websites; Aptamil Professional, Growing Up Milk Info, the Feeding for Life Foundation, In Practice and The Vitamin D Mission.

Early Life Nutrition

They also have a new website in the UK summarises a range of information on early years nutrition, has its own manifesto and which makes policy suggestions for the UK – including:

‘How can we offer parents and carers a trusted guide and partner to help them make the right choices in parenting and in nutrition?’

We will review this site in our next newsletter.

Why do Danone Nutricia invest so much in providing 'practical help and information' to health professionals?

In the Danone Nutricia Annual Report for 2013 one of their key strategies to increase sales of ‘Early life nutrition products’ is highlighted as:

‘cultivating relationships with opinion leaders, health professionals and key specifiers to raise awareness of the special nutritional needs of infants and young children and position early life nutrition products as a credible way to meet these’  (Click on report cover below - page 49)
Danone annual report 13

Reading their annual report (click cover left) provides an insight in to how these multinational companies use their financial muscle to move into new countries and areas and undermine current infant feeding practices, producing ‘solutions’ to problems that they themselves highlight. Under a cover of research and through funding of paediatric groups and health professionals they create and open up new markets, as has previously been exposed in Turkey by the Bureau of Investigative Journalists.

Read more here

The hijacking of the 1000 days agenda by Danone to promote its own agenda and products that undermine breastfeeding has upset many health professionals and breastfeeding supporters. Danone is however honest in its annual report that its overall aim in marketing formula milks is to disrupt exclusive breastfeeding:

'Our ranges are designed to supplement breast milk and consistently comply with the World Health Organization Code'

Breastfeeding saves lives

You might find The Save the Children Briefing on Nestlé and Danone does not support their view on their Code compliance, and we have highlighted this in previous newsletters through the excellent work of IBFAN.

(Click on cover left for the report)

In the New Year we will launch our own manifesto with suggestions to companies that make infant milks and foods for young children about how they can comply with World Health Assembly resolutions to protect the health of infants and young children and be more honest and open about their business plans.

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Healthy Start Alliance UK

This new alliance has recently been launched to act as an independent advocacy group to support Healthy Start, the UK wide welfare food scheme. The website can be found at

First Steps Nutrition Trust is coordinating the Alliance and we have already had an excellent response organisations and individuals who support health and well-being in the early years. The aim of the alliance is to promote, support and potentially advocate for Healthy Start should it be threatened by policy changes in how low income families are supported.

Organisations and individuals who support good nutrition in pregnancy and the early years, or who support and advocate for families living on low incomes and who wish to join the Alliance can email

Follow the alliance @HSAllianceUK

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Maternity Action

meternity action


This small but very effective and vital charity which is committed to ending inequality and improving the health and well-being of pregnant women, partners and young children – from conception through to the child’s early years - is celebrating its 5th birthday.

Maternity Action report


It has launched a report ‘Accommodating breastfeeding on return to work: Guidance for employers’ (click on cover) which provides simple advice on why there are good business reasons to support women’s desire to breastfeed and how employers can accommodate this.

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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