Families who cannot afford formula may resort to unsafe feeding practices, such as watering down formula or stretching time between feeds. Given the current pandemic and the huge economic impact, this situation is only likely to worsen. While there are many restrictions around the promotion of formula milk, there is absolutely nothing in law restricting foodbanks from providing formula milk to families and this needs urgently making clear. We should remember that despite marketing practices suggesting one type of formula is superior to another, all first infant milks are subject to tight rules on their composition and are nutritionally equivalent, so there should be no concerns about providing the wrong brand. This is not about promoting formula, or discouraging women from breastfeeding, but ensuring that misconceptions about the law do not prevent families accessing the foods they need.
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BPAS is a charity which sees almost 100,000 women a year for reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception, at clinics across the UK. It supports and advocates for reproductive choice. BPAS also runs the Centre for Reproductive Research and Communication, which seeks to develop and deliver a research agenda that furthers women’s access to evidence-based reproductive healthcare, driven by an understanding of women’s perspectives and needs. You can find out more here.
BPAS intends to launch a not-for-profit fertility service in Spring 2021, to provide ethical, evidence based, person-centred care that supports patients. We intend to only charge what it costs to provide a safe, high-quality, and accessible service to patients who may be unable to access NHS funded care.