The World Health Organisation (WHO*) has recommended that pregnant women and new mothers be informed on the benefits and superiority of breastfeeding - in particular that it provides the best nutrition and protection from illness for babies.
Mothers should be given guidance on the preparation for, and maintenance of lactation with special emphasis on the importance of a well-balanced diet both during pregnancy and after delivery. Unnecessary introduction of partial bottle feeding or other foods and drinks should be discouraged since it will be a negative effect on breastfeeding. Similarly, mothers should be warned of the difficulty of reversing a decision not to breastfeed.
Before advising mother to use an infant formula, she should be advised of the social and financial implications of her decision: for example, if a baby is exclusively bottlefed, more than one can (450g) per week will be needed, so the family circumstances and costs should be kept in mind. Mothers should be reminded that breastmilk is not only the best, but also the most economical food for babies. If a decision to use an infant formula is taken, it is important to give instructions on correct preparation methods, emphasizing that unboiled water, unsterilized bottles or incorrect dilution can all lead to illness.
*See International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes, adopted by the World Health Assembly in Resolution WHA 34.22, May 1981
Infant Cereals, Meals & Drinks, Growing-up Milks
Important Notice: The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months of life and continued breastfeeding for as long as possible. As babies grow at different paces, health professionals should advise the mother on the appropriate time when her baby should start receiving complementary foods.