Vulnerable parents may be forced to resort to unsafe practices to feed their babies because of sharp increase in the cost of infant formula, charities have warned.
The price of the cheapest brand of baby formula has leapt by 22%, according to analysis by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS).
BPAS said the cost of infant formula needed to safely feed a baby in the first six months of their life was no longer covered by Healthy Start vouchers, which are worth £8.50 a week and provided to women in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who are pregnant or have young children.
The charity Feed said families that were unable to afford enough infant formula had resorted to watering down the product or feeding their babies unsuitable food such as porridge.
BPAS’s chief executive, Clare Murphy, said: “We know that families experiencing food poverty resort to unsafe feeding methods, such as stretching out time between feeds and watering down formula. The government cannot stand by as babies are placed at risk of malnutrition and serious illness due to the cost of living crisis and the soaring price of infant formula.
“The government must increase the value of Healthy Start vouchers to protect the health of the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society.”
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Source: The Guardian, 6 December 2022