These statements and infosheets highlight Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative’s view on key issues related to infant feeding, parent-infant relationships, and implementing the Baby Friendly Standards.
Please note, the terms ‘woman’ and ‘mother’ are used throughout our statements and resources. These terms should be taken to include people who do not identify as women, but who are pregnant or have given birth. Similarly, where the term ‘parent’ is used, this should be taken to include anyone who has main responsibility for caring for a baby.
Guidance on producing educational videos and online materials for parents on bottle / formula feeding
The infosheet below provides information for health professionals who may be providing educational videos or online materials for parents on bottle / formula feeding.
Statement on infant formula in food banks
Updated 12 November 2020
The statement below responds to recent media stories which imply that the Baby Friendly Initiative is refusing to allow food banks to provide infant formula to families in need.
Response to new research on the release of microplastics during infant formula preparation
21 October 2020
The statement below responds to new research on the release of microplastics during infant formula preparation.
Stage 3 and re-assessments in neonatal units during the Covid-19 outbreak
7 October 2020
The statement below responds to recent queries regarding Stage 3 and re-assessments in neonatal units during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Infant feeding on neonatal units during the Covid-19 outbreak
Updated 20 April 2021
The statement below responds to recent queries regarding best practice for infant feeding on neonatal units during the Covid-19 outbreak.
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Infant feeding during the Covid-19 outbreak
Updated 20 April 2021
The statement below responds to recent queries regarding best practice for infant feeding during the Covid-19 outbreak.
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Baby Friendly assessments during the Covid-19 outbreak
Updated 28 April 2021
The statement below is intended to support Infant Feeding Leads/teams and senior staff to plan work related to Baby Friendly accreditation during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Managing potential conflicts of interest in a Baby Friendly accredited service
28 January 2019
Determining what constitutes a conflict of interest in large and complex public service institutions can cause confusion and stress for those leading on the implementation of the Baby Friendly Initiative standards. This statement is intended to clarify what is required and what will and will not affect Baby Friendly accreditation. It should be read in conjunction with our guide for health workers: Working within the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.
The Infant Nutrition Industry (INI) Code of Practice
9 November 2018
The statement below responds to the queries Unicef UK has received about the recently launched Infant Nutrition Industry Code of Practice (INI code), published by the British Specialist Nutrition Association (BSNA).
Study on starting solids early and infant sleep
12 July 2018
The statement below responds to the recent study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, showing an association between starting solids early and infant sleep.
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Royal College of Midwives infant feeding position statement
12 June 2018
The statement below responds to the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) position statement on infant feeding.
British Society of Paediatric Dentistry
Unicef UK has received a number of queries about the recently published British Society of Paediatric Dentistry (BSPD)’s Position Statement on Infant Feeding. The statement below responds to some of BSPD’s recommendations around breastfeeding.
British Society of Paediatric Dentistry March 2018 download pdf
Read more in Public Health England’s statement on the issue, highlighting the role that breastfeeding plays in protecting infant health.
Baby box schemes
Unicef UK has received a number of queries about various ‘Baby Box’ schemes and whether these are compatible with the Baby Friendly standards. The statement below explores this and suggests key things to think about when considering engaging with these schemes.
Baby Box Scheme statement November 2017 (download pdf)
October 2018 update: Experts have raised concerns about cardboard baby boxes in a letter to the BMJ: https://www.bmj.com/content/363/bmj.k4243
How the Baby Friendly Initiative supports parents who formula feed
The Baby Friendly standards are designed to support the wellbeing and life chances of all babies, whether breast or bottle fed. Whilst breastfeeding is the best option for babies, and we work to support mothers to breastfeed, we also work to ensure that all babies receive high standards of care and the best possible chance to thrive regardless of feeding type.
For bottle fed babies, this work includes:
- Enabling closeness between parents and their baby, which supports brain development and mental health
- Helping parents to choose an infant formula, make up feeds and avoid over feeding
- Supporting parents to lower costs
- Protecting families from commercial interests and advocating for the rights of all babies at a governmental level.
All maternity and community services which are accredited as Baby Friendly must demonstrate that their staff support families who bottle feed. The following statement, published in January 2017 and available for download below, will explain this work in more detail, and help health professionals to demonstrate the impact of the Baby Friendly standards on the welfare of both breast and bottle fed babies.
Vitamin D supplementation for breastfed babies
In November 2016 we updated our statement on Vitamin D supplementation in light of new recommendations from The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition for the whole population, including new-born babies. It is now recommended that everyone over one year of age should take a 10µg/d vitamin D supplement daily and, as a precaution, breastfed babies from birth up to one year of age also be given a supplement of 8.5 to10µg/d vitamin D per day. Babies who are formula fed do not require vitamin D if they are having 500ml/day of infant formula or more, as infant formula already has added vitamin D.
Co-sleeping in light of NICE guidance
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued updated guidelines on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and co-sleeping (sleeping with a baby on a bed, sofa or arm-chair). This update forms part of NICE guidance 37: Routine Postnatal Care of Women and their Babies (NICE, 2014).
Unicef UK issued a statement in December 2014, for download below, which updates previous statements on bed-sharing and co-sleeping made by the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative.
Will working with a breast pump company affect our Baby Friendly status?
Unicef UK receives many queries from concerned health professionals about whether or not it is acceptable to work with companies that sell breast pumps. The reason for this concern is that many of these companies also sell feeding bottles and teats, thereby bringing them within the scope of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (the Code). This statement is designed to guide organisations and individual health professionals in their relations with breast pump companies.
The statement, published in January 2015, provides full information on whether working with a breastpump company will affect a service’s Baby Friendly status.
The provision of formula milk at food banks
April 2014, updated May 2019
Recognising that this is a very difficult issue with no easy solutions, this infosheet provides guidance around supplying formula milk at food banks.
Provision of formula milk at food banks (download pdf)