Posts filed under ‘Babyfeeding’

Foods Standards Agency reminds parents of advice on making up infant formula

The Agency is reminding parents and childcarers who use powdered infant formula to use hot water to make up a feed. Formula powder isn’t sterile, so occasionally it could contain harmful bacteria, which could make babies ill. Using water that is 70°C, or higher, will kill any harmful bacteria in the powder.

In practice, this means boiling at least 1 litre of water in a kettle and leaving it to cool for no more than half an hour.

Recent research funded by the Agency has confirmed the importance of using hot water to make up powdered formula. But some parents aren’t aware of this advice and may use cold water, or boiled water that has been cooled for longer than half an hour.

Ready-to-feed liquid formula, sold in cartons, doesn’t need to be mixed and is sterile. But it is more expensive to buy than formula powder.

If you are making up powdered infant formula, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how much powder and water to use for each bottle. You should also do the following:

Clean and sterilise bottles and teats before you use them.
Use fresh tap water (don’t use water that has been boiled before).
Fill the kettle with at least 1 litre of water.
Boil the water.
Then leave the water to cool for no more than half an hour.
Always put the water in the bottle first, before the powder.

Cool down the milk by holding the bottom half of the bottle under cold running water, with the cap covering the teat. (This is to avoid scalding the baby.)

Test the temperature of the formula milk on the inside of your wrist before giving it to a baby. It should be body temperature, which means it should feel warm.

If there is any made-up formula milk left after a feed, throw it away. You should also throw away any milk that has been at room temperature for more than two hours.

The Government advises mothers to breastfeed exclusively until their babies are six months old and then to continue after introducing solid foods. For more information about feeding babies, talk to your GP or health visitor, or read the advice on our eatwell site.

For information on breastfeeding, call the National Breastfeeding helpline on 0300 100 0212 to speak to the nearest trained volunteer in your area.

View report

Bacteriocidal preparation of powdered infant milk formulae



March 1, 2010 at 4:49 pm Leave a comment

BPA in plastic bottles

Breast Cancer UK today launches a campaign calling on the Government to take action to end the use of controversial chemical, Bisphenol-A (commonly abbreviated to BPA), in baby bottles.

This call is backed by NCT (National Childbirth Trust), UNISON, The Women’s Environmental Network, the Cancer Prevention and Education Society and CHEM Trust.

Already voluntarily withdrawn from shelves in Canada and the USA, polycarbonate baby bottle made with BPA are still available in the UK, despite our view being that clear and compelling scientific evidence in lab experiments have linked even low level exposure to increased risk of breast cancer and other chronic conditions.

In the first survey of its type ever conducted, just under four in of five (79%) of the public either strongly agree (50%) or agree (29%) ‘that it is important that the UK Government acts in a precautionary way when it comes to protecting babies and very young children from BPA’.

Women feel even more strongly, those agreeing or strongly agreeing rises to just under 17 in 20 (84%).  While 61% of the public think the UK Government should ‘act to end the use of BPA in baby bottles’ 61% and only 10% think the Government ‘should follow the current FSA guidelines and leave things as they are’.

The No More BPA campaign is being launched just a day after an expected announcement on BPA, due on the 30th of November 2009, from the US Food and Drug Administration, that have similar regulatory authority on food contact products and public health as do the UK Food Standards Agency.

Baby bottle manufacturers, anticipating the Canadian ban as well as expected regulatory action in the US, have already withdrawn baby bottles made with BPA from shelves.

The plastic recycling number 7 is sometimes imprinted on polycarbonate plastics, but as the number 7 code is used as the catchall for ‘other plastics’, even this limited labelling is very unclear.

December 10, 2009 at 4:29 pm Leave a comment

Popular pregnancy and parent guides updated

New advice on storing breast milk and the best medicines to take during pregnancy are some of the updates the Department of Health has made to its popular Pregnancy and Birth to Five books being relaunched today.

The books have been a vital source of information for mums-to-be and new parents for over ten years, offering the latest information on issues that matter to them. The books will be given free to all expectant women and new parents by their midwives and health visitors.

The Pregnancy and Birth to Five books have now been updated to reflect latest advice and evidence and include extra information parents have told us they need.  Some of the changes include:

– Increasing the amount of time it is recommended breast milk can be stored in a fridge from 24 hours to 5 days

– Reflecting latest Food Standards Agency advice that:
– it is safe for mothers to eat peanuts during pregnancy, but babies shouldn’t be given them for the first six months of life
– pregnant women should not drink more than 200mg of caffeine a day – that’s two mugs of instant coffee

– Introducing a step-by-step breast feeding guide and information on medicines for common ailments while pregnant or breast feeding

All of this information has been updated in online resources on NHS Choices as it has changed, but these books bring it all together in one handy reference tool for parents.

Commenting on the new books, Health Minister Ann Keen said:

“Parents have told us how useful they find these books and the advice they give, and we’ve listened to their feedback on what extra information they need.  That’s why we’ve updated the Pregnancy and Birth to Five books to include more advice on the topics parents find most difficult including post natal depression and breast feeding.  I would encourage all parents to use these books and their midwife and health visitor to ensure they have all the information and support they need through pregnancy and early years.”

Commenting on the new books, General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives Cathy Warwick said:

“The RCM is pleased to have helped update these publications and feels that they will be a vital new resource for pregnant women and their families. We believe that they will help empower and educate pregnant women to make informed choices and decisions about their unborn baby and their newborn child’s health.”

As well as offering advice and guidance, the books let parents know what support and contact they can expect from the NHS at every stage of pregnancy and early years.

First time mum-to-be Hannah Plumridge said:

“The new Pregnancy book is really easy to dip in and out of. It’s good to read something that is written from the NHS point of view so you don’t just learn about what is happening physically, but what you can expect at each midwife appointment and what the NHS can offer at each stage of the pregnancy. I thought the section on the labour was the most informative I have read – I now know more about the process once labour begins and what happens afterwards, rather than just physically giving birth.”

October 30, 2009 at 2:52 pm Leave a comment

NCT response to BMJ cot death research

A report out today in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) regarding cot death has found that there is a possible link between cot death and socio-economic deprivation.

A team of researchers at the Bristol and Warwick universities studied all unexpected infant deaths – aged from birth to two years old. Of the 80 cot deaths analysed, more than half (54%) occurred while co-sleeping compared to one-fifth (20%) co-sleeping rate among both control groups. Much of this risk may be explained by the combination of parental alcohol or drug use prior to co-sleeping (31% compared with 3% random controls), and the high proportion of co-sleeping deaths on a sofa (17% compared with 1% random controls).


Rose Dodds, Senior Public Policy Officer says:

“While this study reaffirms the risks of falling asleep with a baby on a sofa, or if you have been drinking or taking drugs that affect arousal. The risks for babies whose parents had not drunk alcohol, taken drugs, fallen asleep on the sofa with their baby and did not smoke but who did sleep with their baby were not different from that for babies in a separate cot.

“However, it is not appropriate to tell all parents not to sleep with their babies. It is clear from many surveys that around half of parents sleep with their babies at some point in the first six months, and around a quarter do so routinely, so we need to help them to do this in the safest way possible. If we demonise the parents’ bed we may be in danger of the sofa being chosen. A better approach may be to warn parents of the specific circumstances that put babies at risk.

“Parents need to be advised never to put themselves in a situation where they might fall asleep with a young infant on a sofa and that they should never co-sleep with an infant if they have consumed alcohol or drugs.

“Mothers who breastfeed and bed share with their baby, are more likely to continue breastfeeding and there is good evidence that breastfeeding helps to protect against cot death.”

For the NCT position statement on co-sleeping, please visit

October 23, 2009 at 12:56 pm Leave a comment

NCT response to Swansea University research relating to drugs in labour and breastfeeding

A study published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology suggests that there may be an association between drugs used during the third stage of labour and a reduction in breastfeeding at 48 hours after birth.*

This study suggests that injected synthetic oxytoxin alone or with ergometrine (e.g. Syntometrine), which is given to speed the delivery of the placenta and prevent haemorrhage after the birth, could also make breastfeeding more difficult. It is already known that pethidine and similar opioid drugs can have an impact on babies’ ability to start breastfeeding in the early days.

For more information about oxytocin, the third stage of labour or drugs that may be offered to women during labour, please visit the NCT info centre

September 11, 2009 at 10:58 am 1 comment

Mother and Baby survey reveals mothers worries about breastfeeding in public

A new Mother and Baby survey, carried out in conjunction with NCT, reveals that most British women still feel uncomfortable breastfeeding in public.

The survey, of over 1,200 mums, discovered that 60 per cent feel that the UK isn’t breastfeeding friendly. It also found that 65 per cent felt so strongly about it that they don’t even intend to try breastfeeding because they feel too self-conscious about people staring at them.

65 per cent of those questioned felt that they would feel more encouraged to try breastfeeding if there was a more relaxed attitude towards it among the general public. 30 per cent also thought attitudes towards breastfeeding are more positive abroad.

Two thirds of mothers who did choose to breastfeed said feeding their baby in public had been a stressful experience[l1] . Over half (54 per cent) have been asked to move on from a restaurant, cafe or coffee shop and 30 per cent have been asked to move in a shopping centre.

London came out on top as the place where mums feel most comfortable breastfeeding in public with no-one reporting that they had been asked to move on from feeding in a public place.

The North West (64.8%) and West Midlands (63.3%) were considered the most stressful areas to be a breastfeeding mum.

Women in Scotland didn’t care who saw them and felt most confident about breast feeding in front of other people – with 60 per cent not worrying who saw them. Mums in Wales feel the most supported by specialist GP and health visitors with 73 per cent feeling that they received all the support they needed. Only half of breastfeeding mums in the North felt supported.

70 per cent of mums said celebrities should breastfeed in public to help encourage acceptance.


The survey was conducted by Mother  & Baby magazine and online at and NCT website

1236 replies were received.

Mother & Baby magazine is published monthly by Bauer Media.

July 24, 2009 at 9:22 am 4 comments

COW and GATE found guilty of misusing research to sell their brands of formula milks

Cow & Gate this week had a complaint against their advertising of follow on milk upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The ruling states that Cow & Gate’s claim that their follow-on milk “support[s] your baby’s natural immune system” is unsubstantiated. This complaint was brought by the NCT.  Baby Milk Action has also won a similar ASA ruling about Aptamil’s follow-on milk advertising.

NCT lodged a complaint with the ASA in July 2007 pointing out that Cow & Gate’s claim was unproven. The evidence that the company provided, purporting to support their claims, was based on a study which was not relevant for this product because:

  • Follow-on milk is for babies who are aged 6 months or over. The study used as a basis by Cow & Gate for this claim recruited babies less than 4 months old who were fed on formula milk, not follow-on milk.
  • The product in the study was different from the product being advertised with the claim. The formula milk provided to the babies in the study contained extensively hydrolysed cow’s milk*. Neither Cow & Gate’s formula milk, nor its follow-on milk contains cow’s milk that is extensively hydrolysed.
  • The findings of the study are not necessarily relevant to babies who are not susceptible to allergies.  Because the babies selected to be part of the study, were all susceptible to having allergies (either a parent or a sibling had an allergy).

The ASA stated that Nutricia (manufacturer of Cow & Gate) needs to hold robust evidence to support their claims in any future advertising.

Parents are best served by talking to healthcare professionals and other bodies without a financial interest in formula, for their information.  By its nature, advertising is never impartial.

*Hydrolysing is where protein is broken down into amino acids and short chain peptides.

The Scientific Advisory Committee (SACN) which advises the government on nutrition, points out that the use of claims is ‘entirely unsupportable’. If an ingredient is beneficial it should be included in all formula milks. They said “We find the case for labeling infant formula or follow on formula with health or nutrition claims entirely unsupportable. If an ingredient is unequivocally beneficial as demonstrated by independent review of scientific data it would be unethical to withhold it for commercial reasons. Rather it should be made a required ingredient of infant formula in order to reduce existing risks associated with artificial feeding. To do otherwise is not in the best interests of children, and fails to recognise the crucial distinction between these products and other foods.”

July 24, 2009 at 9:11 am Leave a comment

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