The Royal College of Midwives updates policy on breastfeeding

The choice by mums to formula feed rather than breastfeed their babies should be respected, The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has said

Although for many years the RCM has supported mums who formula feed rather than breastfeed, it has now officially updated its policy to reflect this.

A statement from the college reads: “If, after being given appropriate information, advice and support on breastfeeding, a woman chooses not to do so, or to give formula as well as breastfeeding, her choice must be respected.”

However, the college still maintains that exclusive breastfeeding is best for the first six months of a baby’s life.

Pressure to breastfeed

Many mums say they feel under pressure to breastfeed despite struggling or feeling unsupported.

Abigail Wood, NCT’s Head of Campaigns, says: “We believe that parents need information and support for breastfeeding and bottle-feeding and it’s up to them to decide how to feed their babies, so we wholeheartedly support the RCM’s new statement which tallies with our position.

“We think that women who decide to breastfeed need support to do so and our breastfeeding counsellors supported around 20,000 women last year.

“We also train around 300 breastfeeding peer support workers a year, who voluntarily help mums across the UK. However, more peer support schemes need to be funded as services are so inconsistent.

“There’s lots of information about infant feeding on our website for new mums (and dads) and we also provide a free telephone helpline for parents, whether they decide to breast, formula or mix feed.”

You’ll find lots of information about breastfeeding, formula feeding and mixed feeding here.