Soaring cost of baby formula is leading to unsafe feeding practices | UK News
Charities have warned babies from vulnerable families are at risk of malnutrition due to soaring formula prices leading to unsafe feeding practices.
The cost of formula has risen over the past year – with the price of the cheapest brand up 22%, according to analysis by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS).
Currently, the Healthy Start coupon offers women in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who are pregnant or with young children £8.50 a week to buy nutritious food.
But price increase This means the vouchers are no longer enough to pay for the infant formula needed for the first six months of life, BPAS said.
Charities are calling on the government to increase the value of the Healthy Start allowance from £8.50 to £10 a week for infants “to provide more practical support to families with dependent infants.” into formula milk”.
BPAS CEO Clare Murphy said: “We know that families experiencing food shortages must resort to unsafe feeding methods, such as extending the time between feedings and dilute formula milk.
“The government cannot stand by and watch children at risk of malnutrition and serious illness due to the cost-of-living crisis and rising milk powder prices.
“The government must increase the value of Healthy Start coupons to protect the health of the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society.”
The largest food bank networks now have policies in place that prevent their food banks from redistributing donated formula.
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And the UNICEF guidelines, backed by the UK government, make food banks reluctant to offer formula.
UNICEF says that “while on the surface” food banks “appear to be a practical solution”, distributing recipes “could be a risky practice that could inadvertently cause harm”.
Michelle Herd, co-founder of infant bank AberNecessities, based in north-east Scotland, said: “We’ve seen a dramatic increase in referrals for parents facing difficulties in raising young children due to the high price of formula milk.
“We need to make sure that babies Formula milk is available to families who need it, whether that is through food banks and baby banks.
“In addition, the government must investigate the increased costs, particularly for critical products such as infant formula.
“Our fear is that without access to this basic necessity we will see children in the hospital, malnourished.”
Justine Roberts, Mumsnet founder and chief executive officer said: “The government must act urgently to ensure no parent struggles to feed their children this winter.”