Formula Feeding

Formula Feeding

All parents who are not exclusively breastfeeding their baby need clear, impartial advice about the safe preparation, storage and choice of infant formula and about responsive feeding.

Please follow the links below to find out about making up feeds and sterilising equipment, maintaining milk supply when using bottles and much more.

Mothers who wish to continue breastfeeding whilst giving formula, need information on how to increase or maintain their milk supply.

Step by Step Bottle Feeding Guide

The Baby Friendly Initiative (UNICEF UK BFI) step by step guide to formula feeding can be downloaded here, which also highlights the importance of skin-to-skin contact and responsive feeding for all babies.

Composition of Formula Milk

First Steps Nutrition has produced useful evidence-based publications, including clear information about infant formula, follow on formula and other infants milks marketed in the early years. Click on the links below to download these reports.

Practical Guide for Health Professionals provides evidence-based information on formula milks currently sold in the UK.

Infant Milk Composition 

Infant Formula - An Overview 

A Simple Guide to Infant Formula provides a summary of which infant milks are suitable for use across the first 2 years of life. It explains some of the common issues that families may ask about infant milks, and provides details of how to make up milks safely.

Specialised Infant Formula Milks in the UK covers milks that are marketed for infants with special dietary needs. 

Fortified Milks for Children outlines the global market for fortified milks for children aged over 1 year. This new report has been compiled to support international work considering regulation and composition of fortified milks for older children.

Rosemary Dodds (Policy Officer NCT)  'Choosing a formula.pdf' examines the evidence for using different milks and the added ingredients and is an excellent leaflet. 


International Code on Marketing Breastmilk Substitutes

Health professionals who support mothers and babies with breastfeeding have a duty of care to ensure that they provide sensitive, evidence-based information to enable mothers and their families to make fully informed decisions about how they feed and care for their babies. 

Baby Friendly healthcare facilities are required to adhere to the WHO/UNICEF International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. These requirements are are designed to restrict the influence of commercial interests relating to infant feeding. These standards do not restrict the provision of accurate and impartial information about artificial feeding.

Parents who have chosen to artificially feed their baby should be given clear written instructions and shown how to make up a bottle safely before they leave hospital. Community staff should ensure that this information has been given and is understood. 

NHS choices website covers every aspect of formula feeding from buying bottles to types of milk and the NHS leaflet on bottle feeding lays out these principles clearly. It is designed to be given to parents with the DH Bottle Feeding leaflet in the very early postnatal period.