Formula feeding

Information on formula feeding

For independent information on infant feeding speak to your health worker and see:

The Department of Health Guide to Bottle Feeding - click here (PDF)

NHS Choices:

UNICEF Baby Friendly has produced the leaflet A parents’ guide to infant formula and accompanying health professionals’ guide, available at:

NCT information on bottlefeeding:

Baby Milk Action has produced the DVD Infant Formula Explained with partners in the Baby Feeding Law Group with independent, accurate information on formula feeding - click here.

Baby Milk Action agrees that breastfeeding is the best way to feed a child, providing short and long-term benefits to both mother and baby. There is no food that is more environmentally friendly and locally produced than breastmilk. Breastfeeding is far cheaper than formula feeding, benefiting the whole family.

When babies do not receive breastmilk, for whatever reason, they have a right to nutrition that is as safe as possible and will cause the least possible harm. For this reason, Baby Milk Action campaigns to make formula feeding safer. This is is line with the aim of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes:

The aim of this Code is to contribute to the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants, by the protection and promotion of breastfeeding, and by ensuring the proper use of breastmilk substitutes, when these are necessary, on the basis of adequate information and through appropriate marketing and distribution.

Baby Milk Action and our partners in the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) work for the implementation of the International Code and subsequent, relevant Resolutions of the World Health Assembly in legislation.

We monitor the baby food industry and campaign for them to fulfil their obligations under the International Code, which is set out in Article 11.3:

Independently of any other measures taken for implementation of this Code, manufacturers and distributors of products within the scope of this Code should regard themselves as responsible for monitoring their marketing practices according to the principles and aim of this Code, and for taking steps to ensure that their conduct at every level conforms to them.

We also work with and train health workers so they understand their responsibilities under the Code and Resolutions. Through our partnerships with professional bodies and mother support groups, we campaign for better information and support for parents and other carers.

This work aims to protect breastfeeding and to make formula feeding safer.

Baby Milk Action believes it is a mother's choice how she feeds her child and no-one should attempt to make her feel guilty over the decision she takes.

We believe that mothers, their families and health workers have a right to independent and accurate information on infant feeding. We believe that people who use formula need independent information on the differences between formula and better warnings and instructions to reduce its risks. Information on how to mix up formula to reduce risks is available from the World Health Organisationand the UK Department of Health.

We believe that infants who are not receiving breastmilk should have access to formula and that this should include the ingredients proven by independent science to be necessary and beneficial. Ingredients should not be added without proper testing, nor should they be added simply for marketing reasons.

We invite all members of the public to support our work, whatever their views and experience of infant feeding.

We are concerned at the way the baby food industry portrays a demand that it abide by the marketing requirements of the World Health Assembly as an attack on mothers who use formula and a wish to deny them information. The opposite is the case. As the International Code clearly states, it aims to both protect breastfeeding and to ensure breastmilk substitutes are used safely if necessary. A parent's right to receive correct information on infant nutrition is included in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The industry does not provide necessary information on the risks of infant formula and clear instructions on how to reduce them. Nor does it provide accurate and truthful information on the differences between different infant formulas and between formulas and breastfeeding.  (See film)

To keep informed on Baby Milk Action's work you can sign up for alerts. You can support our work by becoming a member of Baby Milk Action in our on-line Virtual Shop.


You can also contact us by post, telephone or email.


Baby Milk Action, 34 Trumpington Street, Cambridge, CB2 1QY, UK.

From the UK phone: 01223 464420

From outside the UK phone +44 1223 464420

Email: info(at)


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