Protecting breast feeding from breast milk substitutes

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7163.949a (Published 03 October 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:949

Royal college supports promotion of breast feeding

  1. Harvey Marcovitch, Officer for press and public relations,
  2. Margaret Lynch, Chairwoman, advocacy committee,
  3. Keith Dodd, Honorary secretary.
  1. Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, London W1N 6DE
  2. Institute of Child Health, University College London, London WC1N 1EH
  3. Division of Clinical Epidemiology, Department of Paediatrics, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi 110 002, India
  4. Breastfeeding Network, PO Box 11126, Paisley PA2 8YB
  5. Royal Institution of Great Britain, 21 Albemarle Street, London W1X 4BS
  6. * James Rothman is an independent research consultant who provides consultancy services to the Infant and Dietetic Foods Association, for which he is paid. He also advises the Infant Food Manufacturers Association

    EDITOR—In its submission to the Acheson inquiry on poverty and health (the findings of which are expected to be published in autumn 1998) the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health proposed interventions to increase the number of women breast feeding their babies. At the college's 1998 annual general meeting Unicef accepted an invitation to set up a stand at the trade exhibition to provide information on its baby friendly initiative, which was designed to help establish breast feeding and was launched in 1991. Also at that meeting members and fellows reaffirmed their unequivocal support for the practice and promotion of breast feeding in a policy statement. This was policy states that “women should be encouraged to practice exclusive breastfeeding for the first 4-6 months of their infant's life. Thereafter, infants should be enabled to breastfeed while receiving appropriate and adequate weaning food for as long as this meets with their mothers' wishes and convenience.1

    Therefore, we were surprised and disappointed to read some of the sentiments expressed in the editorial by Costello and Sachdev on encouraging breast feeding which reminded doctors that manufacturers of infant milk substitutes may attempt to seek “endorsement by association” or “passivity towards their products.2“ They cited as examples the failure of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health to join the interagency group on monitoring breast feeding and the fact that the college accepts research funds from manufacturers of breast milk substitutes. In fact, the college declined to join the group not because it was opposed to its …

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