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Understand infant feeding to best support mothers' choices

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Bottle-fed babies should be offered a feed when th Bottle-fed babies should be offered a feed when they are hungry and allowed to stop when they show they have had enough

It is important that nurses provide support and advice to help breast or bottle feeding, says Judy More

Breast milk is the optimal milk feed for infants until 12 months of age. It provides the complete nutritional requirements, except vitamin D, for infants up to about six months of age and protection against illness via the antibodies it contains, which are produced in response to environmental factors.

Guidelines from the Department of Health (DH) and UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative state that mothers should be advised so that they can make an informed choice on how they feed their infant. They should then be supported in that choice to feed safely.1

Both breast and bottle feeding mothers will have questions and need support.

Types of formula
Formula composition must comply with government regulations according to European Union (EU) directives. Formulas are made from skimmed milk powder (to provide protein and carbohydrate), a blend of vegetable oils, added vitamins and minerals, and additives found in breast milk such as nucleotides, prebiotics and long-chain fatty acids. The regulations only allow protein from cows’ milk, goats’ milk or soya beans.

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