A new position statement on infant feeding has been published today by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).
The RCM published its new position statement on infant feeding: “the decision whether or not to breastfeed is a woman’s choice and must be respected”.
The RCM recommends that balanced and relevant information should be given to parents choosing to use milk formula to feed their babies, whether exclusively or partially.
It also advises that breastfeeding mothers and their partners should also be given information on the management of physical, mental, emotional and societal challenges of breastfeeding.
When it comes to exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life, the RCM confirms that this is the appropriate method of infant feeding and that breastfeeding should continue alongside complementary foods for up to two years.
Responding to the new union’s new position statement, RCM’s Chief Executive, Gill Walton, said: “Evidence clearly shows that breastfeeding in line with WHO guidance bring optimum benefits for the health of both mother and baby. However, the reality is that often some women for a variety of reasons struggle to start or sustain breastfeeding.
“The RCM believes that women should be at the centre of their own care and as with other areas of maternity care midwives and maternity support workers should support informed choice.
“We recognise that some women cannot or do not wish to breastfeed and rely on formula milk. They must be given all the advice and support they need on safe preparation of bottles and responsive feeding to develop a close and loving bond with their baby.”
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