30 Sept 2022

Irish dietician warns baby formula can cause illness if not made correctly

Irish dietician warns baby formula can cause illness if not made correctly

Irish dietician warns baby formula can cause illness if not made correctly

An Irish dietician is reminding parents that infant formula is 'not a sterile product' and can lead to serious illness if not prepared correctly. 

Neonatal dietician at Cork University Maternity Hospital, Jennifer Wilkinson, made the comments ahead of National Breastfeeding Week, which seeks to raise awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding for mother and baby. 

According to Wilkinson, breastmilk contains essential enzymes, hormones and antibodies that can fight infections such as respiratory, UTIs and gastroenteritis. 

She said, 'Breast milk is a dynamic fluid that changes as the baby grows and as its needs change, your breastmilk actually changes too and facilitates these needs. In comparison, formulas don’t contain these critical antibodies and one has to remember that powdered infant formula is not a sterile product, it can contain harmful bacteria that may potentially cause serious illness in infants when not prepared correctly.' 

According to the HSE, to prepare baby formula correctly the following items are needed: A clean work surface, at least 6 bottles, lids, discs and teats, formula milk, a safe water supply, a kettle, a bottle brush and a small teat brush, sterilising equipment like a chemical, steam or microwave kit, and tongs to help grip the equipment while sterilising. 

Ireland is noted as having one of the worst breastfeeding rates in the world, which Wilkinson says is largely due to breastfeeding supports such as lactation consultants being underfunded. 

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