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New guidance for nurses on formula feeding

The RCN has published guidance on formula feeding for nurses who care for infants and mothers.
Formula feed

The RCN has published guidance on formula feeding for nurses who care for infants and mothers

The Formula Feed guidance gives an overview of formula feeding to help health professionals to support mothers who, for whatever reason, have made that choice of feeding.

It states that while the college 'unequivocally endorses' World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations that exclusive breastfeeding is the optimal means of feeding for the first 6 months of an infants life, mothers who bottle-feed should be given every support to do so as safely as possible and in a non-judgemental way.

It provides information on safe formula feeding in hospital or community settings, details the different types of standard formula available, including formula adapted for minor gastrointestinal conditions.

Information and support

The RCN's guidance is aimed at childrens nurses, neonatal nurses, adult nurses, midwives, health

The RCN has published guidance on formula feeding for nurses who care for infants and mothers

Formula feed
Picture: iStock

The Formula Feed guidance gives an overview of formula feeding to help health professionals to support mothers who, for whatever reason, have made that choice of feeding.

It states that while the college 'unequivocally endorses' World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations that exclusive breastfeeding is the optimal means of feeding for the first 6 months of an infant’s life, mothers who bottle-feed should be given ‘every support to do so as safely as possible and in a non-judgemental way’.

It provides information on safe formula feeding in hospital or community settings, details the different types of standard formula available, including formula adapted for minor gastrointestinal conditions.

Information and support

The RCN's guidance is aimed at children’s nurses, neonatal nurses, adult nurses, midwives, health visitors and healthcare support workers. 

The UK Infant Feeding Survey of 2010 showed that 81% of mothers initiated breastfeeding, but that fell to 69% at 1 week and by 6 months only 34% were still breastfeeding. No later survey results have been published.

'While nurses should continue to provide advice and to promote and support breastfeeding, they should also be able to advise parents and help with formula feeding,' the guidance states.

'While recognising that breastfeeding is the preferred option for feeding an infant, the WHO and Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative is clear that parents should be receiving all the information and support they need to make an informed choice about their baby’s nutrition. Nurses need to have knowledge and skill with regard to the safe preparation and storage of formula and, without bias or promoting any brands, have a good knowledge of the different formulas available and the different situations in which these may be used.'


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