BREASTFEEDING: ADVICE AND COUNTER-ADVICEBefore the 20th century – alternatives to breast milk were rare. Infant formulas appeared in the mid-19th century but had very limited reach and were considered only for women unable to feed naturally.

1950s – Formula took off during the post-war baby boom as milk prices went down and US studies claimed it was as good as breast milk.
Whatever’s breast: Some breastfeeding specialists welcomed the ‘common sense’ findings that many mothers instinctively follow despite feeling guilty about ignoring official advice

1975 – Breastfeeding at lowest ever level with half of UK babies bottle fed from birth as more women entered the workplace and formula was widely advertised.

The ‘Breast is best’ message makes a comeback after new studies and scandal of powdered milk in developing world where mothers were encouraged to used questionable water supplies to dilute milk powder.

– The World Health Organization suggests breastfeeding for at least three months.

2001 – After research overwhelming backs its health benefits, the WHO recommends it for the first six months.

– Britain takes their advice and the Department of Health released guidelines recommending women breastfeed their babies for six months, after it emerged just half of women breast fed after 6 weeks – the lowest rate in Europe.

The guidelines said ‘ Breastfeeding is the best form of nutrition for infants. Exclusive breast- feeding is recommended for the first six months (26 weeks) of an infant’s life as it provides all the nutrients a baby needs.’

Breastfeeding rates rise to 77 per cent.

– Advertising of formula milk for babies under six months is banned. (


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