Hospitals axe formula milk

Increasing numbers of women choose to breast-feed their babies
Increasing numbers of women choose to breast-feed their babies

New mums in Burnley will no longer be given formula milk in hospital.

Bosses at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust said due to increasing numbers of women choosing to breast-feed their babies, it will stop providing the milk at Burnley General Hospital and birth centres across East Lancashire from November 1st.

The Trust will also stop the provision of sterilising equipment, and milk preparation and storing facilities, although Burnley General Hospital will keep formula milk on its neo-natal intensive care unit and post natal ward for high risk babies who need it for medical reasons.

New mums who do not want to breast-feed will have to take their own ready made “starter pack” milk into hospital.

Vanessa Hollings, divisional general manager for family care at the Trust, said: “We are proud to have been ensuring a high standard of care for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers and babies for the past 15 years.

“Research shows breast milk protects babies against stomach bugs, chest infections, asthma and eczema and we are committed to enhancing the feeding experience and the closeness felt between a mum and her baby.

“Like all other hospitals, we support the initiation of breastfeeding with all new babies. However, we recognise that some mums, prefer to bottle feed their babies, and we believe that is their maternal choice.

“We support all mothers in making their own choice on how they want to feed their babies and provide education and advice on all methods. However, like many other hospital Trusts, we will now be unable to provide formula milk and mothers will need to ensure they bring in their own provision.”

The Trust was recently praised after receiving the Baby Friendly Hospital (BFHI) initiative award for the 15th year, which promotes the importance of the relationship between mums and their newborns. Breastfeeding rates in East Lancashire have risen from 27% in 1998 to 70% in 2013.