Lack of support puts formula fed babies at risk

Survey reveals too little help for bottlefeeding mums may be a danger to babies’ health

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New mums aren’t receiving enough support and advice about bottlefeeding with formula milk and could accidentally be putting their baby’s health at risk, a new study claims.

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Cambridge University experts reviewed studies involving more than 13,000 mums. They found that many mothers felt guilty or thought they were a failure for bottle feeding, while many were angry about not being able to breastfeed.

The researchers blamed some of the problems on the NHS and its policy to heavily promote breastfeeding, while other mothers claimed that their midwives were more interested in helping breastfeeding mums than those who were bottlefeeding.

Because some mums aren’t receiving enough information about bottlefeeding, this can lead to errors in formula milk preparation, including putting too much formula milk in the water, over feeding and regularly changing the brand of formula.

“Mums reported receiving little information on bottlefeeding and did not feel empowered to make decisions,” the researchers said. “When women don’t get information from healthcare professionals, they are reliant on friends and family and incorrect practices are likely to be handed down from one generation to the next.”

The report also showed that almost half of all mums who prepared powdered infant formula did not follow key recommendations to reduce the risk of infection and over-concentrated foods.

The Health Service is keen to promote breastfeeding for health reasons – there is mounting evidence that it improves children’s immunity to disease and helps brain development, and may reduce the risk of heart disease for mums.

However, the study concluded that whlle it’s accepted that breast milk is best for babies, there should be greater support for mums who choose to bottlefeed.

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