Parents give small babies porridge because they cannot afford infant formula

Drink deep my love

Charities call for more government support for struggling parents (Picture: Getty)

Parents are watering down infant formula and feeding their babies puree instead because they can’t afford it, charities have warned.

Prices have skyrocketed over the past year, with even the cheapest formula brand now 22% more expensive, analysis shows.

Currently, pregnant women and new mothers are being paid £8.50 a week with Healthy Start vouchers to buy nutritious food.

But rising costs mean it’s no longer covering the amount of formula needed to safely feed a baby for the first six months of his life, BPAS said.

NHS guidelines recommend that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first year, but figures suggest the majority of babies are partially or fully formula fed by the age of six to eight weeks.

The charity Feed said growing unaffordability put babies at risk of malnutrition and serious illness.

Food banks are now getting more and more recommendations for formula milks, but they currently have policies preventing them from distributing them.

Unicef ​​warns that food banks ‘appear like a practical solution’ ‘on the surface’, distributing formulas ‘can be a risky practice that can inadvertently cause harm’.

Powder milk for baby and blue spoon on light background close-up. Milk powder for babies in a measuring spoon on a can. Milk powder with spoon for baby. Baby milk formula and baby bottles. Baby milk formula on kitchen background

Even the cheapest formula milk has gone up by more than a fifth (Picture: Getty)

Charities are now urging the Government to increase the Healthy Start grant to £10 a week for infants.

BPAS executive director Clare Murphy said: “We know that families affected by food poverty resort to unsafe dietary practices, such as B. increasing the time between meals and watering down the formula.

“The government cannot stand idly by as babies are put at risk of malnutrition and serious illnesses as a result of the cost of living crisis and rising infant formula prices.

“The government needs to increase the value of healthy start vouchers to protect the health of the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society.”

Michelle Herd, co-founder of baby bank AberNecessities, said: “The government needs to look at rising costs, particularly for essential products like baby formula.

“Our concern is that without access to this staple, we will see malnourished babies in the hospital.”

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Justin Scacco

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