London: Formula milk
should carry larger 'cigarette-style' statutory warnings that
"breast feeding is the best" for the new-born child, according to
a leading British charity.
A report, Superfood for Babies, released by 'Save the Children'
Monday, said the lives of 95 babies could be saved every hour
worldwide, 830,000 a year, if mothers breastfed immediately after
The proposal would apply to the UK, European and the developing
world world as well.
It points out the benefits of babies receiving colostrum, the
mother's first milk within an hour of birth. This kickstarts
children's immune systems, making them three times more likely to
survive, the Daily Mail reports.
However, the report says marketing practices by some breast milk
substitute companies can result in mothers believing formula is
the best way to feed their baby even if they are unable to afford
The agency is launching a petition to get breast milk substitute
companies 'to increase health warnings that formula is inferior to
breast milk to cover a third of its packaging'.
At present, all formula milks in Britain have to carry mandatory
advice under the heading 'important notice' that says "breast
feeding is best for babies".
The message "breastfeeding is best" is carried on an advice panel
the size of two postage stamps and hidden among information about
ingredients and how to make it.
Mothers are advised that the "product be used only on the advice
of a doctor, midwife, health visitor, public health nurse ...
pharmacist, or other professional responsible for maternal and
However, campaigners claim that the move will only make mothers
feel guilty, who want to breastfeed but are unable to do so.
Brendan Cox, director of policy at Save the Children, said changes
to warnings would have to apply in Britain and other developed
countries because the packs might be exported to the third world