Mothers who choose not to breastfeed must have their choice respected, according to a new position statement from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).
The update also states that mothers of children who are formula fed should be given information that allows them to bottle feed safely, and support to encourage bonding with their baby.
The College has also called for appropriate staffing and investment for postnatal care to ensure women are given advice to make informed choices.
‘Parents of infants that are formula fed, whether exclusively or partially, need accessible evidence-based information to enable them to do so safely,’ the statement reads.
But the RCM confirms that breastfeeding for the first six months of the baby’s life ‘is the most appropriate method of infant feeding’ and should continue alongside complementary foods for up to two years.
RCM chief executive Gill Walton said: ‘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.’