The Government is fully committed to the promotion of breastfeeding, which is accepted as the best form of nutrition for infants to ensure a good start in life. Breastmilk provides all the nutrients a baby needs. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months of an infant’s life. Six months is the recommended age for the introduction of solid foods for infants. Breastfeeding (and/or breastmilk substitutes, if used) should continue beyond the first six months along with appropriate types and amounts of solid foods. Mothers who do not follow these recommendations should be supported to optimise their infants’ nutrition.
The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) have published their review of the findings from the Infant Feeding Survey 2005. This report highlights implications for policy and recommends options for improving infant feeding practices in the UK. This report can be purchased from The Stationary Office or downloaded here as a pdf (see links below) .
Breastfeeding and the NHS Priorities and Planning Framework 2003-2006
A target has been set to increase breastfeeding initiation rates by 2% points a year through the NHS Priorities and Planning Framework 2003-2006.
Breastfeeding initiation rates
To enable achievement of the PPF target to be measured the Department of Health has published Local Delivery Plans which require the NHS to return local data on breastfeeding rates.
Local data on prevalance of breastfeeding at 6-8 weeks
To enable achievement of the PSA target to be measured the Department of Health has published ‘Vital sign’ that requires the NHS to return local data on prevalence of breatfeeding at 6-8 weeks
National Breastfeeding Awareness Week
Campaign focused on young mothers and mothers-to-be who are least likely to breastfeed.
Regional Infant Feeding Co-ordinators
Breastfeeding practice projects
A three-year Maternal and infant nutrition Initiative has been successfully completed as part of the Government’s Public Health policy to improve health inequalities. As part of this initiative 79 infant feeding projects were supported through the Public Health Development Fund. The projects were specifically aimed at increasing breastfeeding rates amongst populations who were least likely to choose to breastfeed. The majority were local projects looking at best practice & practice development. Emphasis was placed on partnership working and sustainability.
Infant formula milk
Melamine-contaminated powdered infant-formula in China – No evidence of melamine in UK milk
Refer to Foods Standards Agency notice:
Food Standards Agency Independent panel on the controls on infant formula and follow-on formula
An independent panel has been set up to review the effect of the infant and follow-on formula controls, introduced in 2008, on how follow-on formulas are presented and advertised. The review will be carried out over a year and will begin in June 2008.
Update on infant formula legislation
Published: 11/01/2008 16:33
Updated EU legislation on infant formula and follow-on formula came into force in the UK on 11 January 2008.
Advice on infant milks based on goats’ milk
Infant milks based on goats’ milk protein will no longer be sold in the UK, the deadline for ceasing sales has been extended to 1 March 2007.
Department of Health and Food Standard Agency revised guidance on preparation and storage of infant formula milk
The European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) Scientific Panel on Biological Hazards has issued an opinion in relation to the microbiological risks in powdered infant and follow-on formulae. Although infections with these micro-organisms from formula milk are rare, the risk can be reduced by the guidelines in this page.
Survey of formula milk advertising
The Department of Health has recently conducted a survey to explore the understanding and perceptions of infant formula and follow-on formula advertising in the UK amongst pregnant women and mothers of children under one year.
Healthy Start: a new Welfare Food Scheme
The Welfare Food Scheme is being replaced by a new scheme called Healthy Start from 27 November 2006.
Infant formula sales through Welfare Food Scheme have ended
From Monday 28 November NHS Clinics and Welfare Food Distribution Clinics should not be selling infant formula at £4.25 to families holding an NHS Tax Exemption Certificate.
The Department of Health warns about a powdered baby food imported from Uganda
The Department of Health (DH) is advising parents and carers not to feed their babies with a particular batch of: “Baby Soya with Enkejje makes a Stout Baby”.
Local Infant Feeding Audit Tool (LIFA)
Auditing tool for use by NHS trusts, developed to give a 1-2 week snapshot of local breastfeeding data and practice.
16/06/2004: Health Minister’s decision on the fortification of flour with folic acid
The Health Ministers have agreed with FSA’ s advice and at present have decided not to proceed with the mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid due to outstanding concerns about vitamin B12 deficiency in older people.
Infant feeding associated publications
DH guidance publications for health professionals and leaflets to help mothers breast- or bottle-feed.
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