Data shows that the cost of infant formula has soared over the last year – with the price of the cheapest brand increasing by 22%
The current cash value of Healthy Start vouchers, £8.50 per week, is no longer enough to pay for the amount of infant formula needed to safely feed a baby in the first six months of their life.
Research has found that parents experiencing poverty are also resorting to unsafe feeding practices, including skipping feeds, watering down formula or adding cereal.
Unless there is action by the government, retailers, and formula companies, it is likely that there will be a significant rise in the number of families unable to feed their babies.
NHS guidance recommends that babies are exclusively breastfed for the first year of their lives. However, data shows that the majority of babies will be partially or fully formula fed by the time they are 6-8 weeks old. The choice of how to feed a baby is one to be made by the mother and family. Many women opt not to breastfeed or face medical issues which means breastfeeding is either impossible or insufficient to provide the amount of milk their baby needs.
To rectify this situation the government must: