The “breast is best” message is failing to convince new mothers of the importance of breastfeeding, campaigners have claimed.
The Breastfeeding Network had called on the Department of Health for a change of approach.
It said breastfeeding needed to be seen as the normal way to feed babies rather than an added bonus.
The current message reinforced views that formula milk was the “standard” way of feeding, the group claimed.
Lesley Backhouse, chair of The Breastfeeding Network, has written to the Department of Health, calling for a change of approach.
“We’ve got to knock breastfeeding off this pedestal,” she said.
“It seems to play straight into the formula manufacturer’s hands by encouraging the view that formula is the normal way to feed a baby - whereas nothing could be further from the truth.”
She added: “What we should be saying - and are intent on getting across - is that formula feeding is an avoidable health risk to babies.”
A Department of Health spokesman said in a statement that “breast is best” was not its slogan, adding: “Breastfeeding is good for babies, good for mothers and incredibly convenient.
“It’s crucial that mothers get the support they need to make breastfeeding a success for them and their baby.”