Lack of information on bottle-feeding, as a result of efforts to encourage breastfeeding, may be putting babies at risk from mistakes in the preparation of formula, warn UK researchers.
A review of studies involving more than 13,000 mothers found that new mothers often make a number of errors while getting the formula ready, including using too high a concentration of formula, changing brands and the timing of feeds.
‘Mistakes in preparation of bottle-feeds were common,’ said the study authors from the Medical Research Council’s epidemiology unit at Cambridge University. They warned that such errors risk ‘overfeeding’ which can cause obesity, or undernourishing babies that do not receive enough formula milk.
The findings, published online in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, suggest that mothers did not receive enough information about bottle-feeding, owing to the fact that breastfeeding is promoted as being best for the baby.
Mothers questioned said they felt guilty for bottle-feeding and neglected by the health service as midwives were more interested in helping breastfeeding mothers than those who used bottles.
The study’s authors concluded: ‘Inadequate information and support for mothers who decide to bottle-feed may put the health oftheir babies at risk. While it is important to promote breastfeeding, it is also necessary to ensure that the needs of bottle-feeding mothers are met.’