The most common questions asked by parents and carers who intend to use infant formula are probably, ‘Which formula is the best?’ and ‘How do I make a bottle?’ A new film for health workers developed by Baby Milk Action with Mark-It TV and the Baby Feeding Law Group, aims to equip health workers with the information they need to answer these questions and others. A DVD can be ordered from Baby Milk Action's online Virtual Shop with a public performance licence - click here.
Why is Baby Milk Action venturing into this area? As we campaign to stop company promotion, a question often raised is,‘Where will health workers and mothers find the information they need?’
We interviewed various experts from the Baby Feeding Law Group to provide objective, independent information for health workers.
There is a companion short film that health workers can use with parents and carers who intend to use formula to explain the differences between products on the market and how to reconstitute powdered formula in line with World Health Organisation and UK Department of Health guidance.
So which is the best formula? Look at the information baby food companies put on their websites and in information for health workers and you would believe that their particular brand is the best. Graphs show the company’s product is not only closer to breastmilk than competing brands but not far off being equivalent. They can’t all be telling the truth and closer analysis finds that none of them are. Indeed, by law all formulas on the market have to contain all ingredients known to be necessary.
Companies base their marketing campaigns on ‘optional’ added ingredients, but as the experts explain, there is no proven benefit from these. Indeed, one company (Danone) fell foul of the Advertising Standards Authority in 2009 for claiming its formula is the best when there is no basis for the claim. Companies violate the International Code by targeting healthworkers, offering gifts and money to meet if the health facilities don’t allow it.
Ordering the Infant Formula Explained films
The films are available under licence and can be packaged with other popular Mark-It Television titles on breastfeeding and baby-led weaning. The licence allows a hospital, primary care trust, children’s centre or teaching establishment to use the health worker film with staff and show parents and carers the film developed for them. The films are suitable for use in establishments certified as Baby Friendly and can be provided on multiple DVDs, or electronically for use on an establishment’s intranet. Click here to request a quote.
In focus groups with health workers, virtually all said they would like the DVD to be used in their facilities and half said they would modify their responses to the question ‘Which is the best formula’ after seeing the health worker film, or be more confident about their answers. One comment was, “Brilliant, opinions from a varied group and very factual, a real eye-opener for health workers.”
Infant Formula Explained includes interviews with: Dr. Colin Michie (RCPCH), Gabrielle Palmer (Nutritionist), Gillian Weaver (UKAMB), Mike Brady (BFLG), Rosie Dodds (NCT), Vicky Carne (MIDIRS), Shel Banks (IFIT), Liz Schofield (Midwife).
• Contact us if you would like to receive a review copy of the DVD for your publication. Please provide details of the publication and its circulation.