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To find this absolutely shocking?

(56 Posts)
NotSayingImBatman Thu 14-May-15 14:18:45

I've just been informed by my local food bank that they don't accept donations of formula milk because it 'may change feeding trends in the local area'.

They provided me a print out of the UNICEF statement regarding this, which also states that providing an incorrect type of milk could be harmful to a young baby, however I fail to see how 'nothing' could be less harmful than 'something' when it comes to infant nutrition and don't see why they couldn't ask for one particular brand and ensure the age range was correct when handing it out. I live in an area with high unemployment and low BFing rates. Now, I don't want this to turn into a BF/FF debate, I have experience of both and am still BFing 10mo DS2.

I'm also aware that those already 'in the system' so to speak, have access to healthy start vouchers that I believe can go towards formula milk. But what on earth is a mother who has, say, lost her job suddenly and has no income - to the point she requires a food bank in the first place - supposed to do if her baby needs feeding?

It would be impossible to reestablish a supply quickly if the baby were more than a few weeks old, particularly if that mother had never BF. I'm all for promoting that breast milk is great, but should we really be allowing this to blindly continue in food banks?

I know some will say the milk could be tampered with, but so could any food donated to a food bank. Has anyone else experienced this? Or is my food bank alone in this?

GirlInterupted Thu 14-May-15 14:20:47

I'm very pro breastfeeding but I'm shocked at this. It's beyond rediculous!

flora717 Thu 14-May-15 14:24:50

That is crackers. (also pro breastfeeding), people need formula if they're using it. It's a staple, storable item. I thought foodbanks favoured those things!

Superexcited Thu 14-May-15 14:26:53

I think it is a stupid policy but do food banks have many requests for formula? Do people on low incomes still get milk tokens to buy formula?

Pispcina Thu 14-May-15 14:30:17

Very odd - I think we need more info in order to understand what has prompted this and who is behind it.

It isn't like you can suddenly establish breastfeeding when your baby has been formula fed for a year hmm.

I'm a long term BFer but I have to say this is peculiar.

LetThereBeCupcakes Thu 14-May-15 14:30:37

YANBU. Utterly ridiculous.

I met a group of 5 other new mums just after I had DS. 4 of the 6 of us were forced to give up BF earlier than they wanted to, through no fault of their own. BFing is HARD. This could easily apply to a person who has to use a food bank. What are they supposed to do?

Pispcina Thu 14-May-15 14:31:32

Not sure how milk tokens are affected by sanctions.? Anyone know?

We still get them, I don't use them, I'd rather buy my own fruit than have someone peer through my shopping checking I'm not trying to use part of my £3.20 fraudulently.

Topseyt Thu 14-May-15 14:33:33

It sounds like utter nonsense to me.

Regardless of the bf vs ff arguments, surely nobody seriously believes that the babies of poor people should starve.

I don't know about vouchers for low income families. Do they get them and what are the criteria?

Charlotte3333 Thu 14-May-15 14:35:54

Our local church food bank accepts formula happily, I often chuck a tin in when I'm doing a big shop.

TenerifeSea Thu 14-May-15 14:36:51

Jesus, how ridiculous. Yanbu at all.

SomewhereIBelong Thu 14-May-15 14:36:52

Why food banks??

- those on certain benefits can get vouchers on the healthy start system until a child is 4

NRomanoff Thu 14-May-15 14:38:41

I am not shocked. At all. Its typical. if you are going to a food bank you are pretty desperate. Not there by choice, if you are there and need formula then you need it. I do not believe anyone is going to decide to not bf because you can get formula down at the food bank.

NotSayingImBatman Thu 14-May-15 14:39:16

My worry was people who can't immediately access healthy start vouchers, not those already in receipt of them. Here's a link to the UNICEF statement I was given statement.

TulipBluebell Thu 14-May-15 14:39:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Morelikeguidelines Thu 14-May-15 14:41:17

Shocking. I think anti ff rules have gone too far, and I bf both of mine, ds to 8 months.

Surely these babies will end up getting cow's milk which is less nutritious than formula and may disagree with them?

SaucyJack Thu 14-May-15 14:44:45

If it's done to appeased the breastapo, rather than there being sound, sensible reasons behind it then it's absolutely horrible.

SilverBirch2015 Thu 14-May-15 14:58:56

I suspect running a food bank is more complex that it initially sounds, particularly making up a box of appropriate and suitable goods from the items donated.

Declining donations of formula sounds sensible enough to me, giving them other items they need and can make use of easily is not a problem surely?

I imagine that they are number of issues around formula. H&S rules about storage and contamination, ethically arguments around encouraging people in poverty to use or supplement with formula without providing necessary advice and equipment, providing a type of formula that is not consistent with a specific families needs. Remember food banks usually provide a box as a one-off emergency; providing some filling store cupboard staples, they wouldn't be able to provide enough formula to support a family in crisis baby feeding needs

Take their advice they know more about what they are doing than we do and could probably do without the hassle of this particular crusade.

SomewhereIBelong Thu 14-May-15 15:08:59

if you cannot immediately access healthy start, you speak to your health visitor. Children "failing to thrive" (covers a multitude of things believe me!) can be prescribed formula.

NotSayingImBatman Thu 14-May-15 15:11:29

Oh believe me, I don't think the food banks are doing anything wrong in following directives.

I think UNICEF are being incredibly narrow in their thinking.

soapboxqueen Thu 14-May-15 15:20:08

Reading unicef's comments I think this has more to do with babies being given different formulas in rapid succession or the wrong formula due to desperation and what's available. I don't think it's about being pro bf.

I would assume that if a parent asked for formula at a food bank, they would be directed towards the children health team /sure start /health visiting team.

SilverBirch2015 Thu 14-May-15 15:23:56

There is a long and difficult history around providing formula to people living in poverty (google:Nestlé Africa formula) and I can understand UNICEF's reluctance to encourage Foodbanks to provide formula. For instance what if a formula manufacturer that Nestlé what to give them so near out of date stocks?

soapboxqueen Thu 14-May-15 15:39:54

There's also been the suggestion that food manufacturers in general donate in order to advertise their products. Which in itself isn't wrong but if they use it as an opportunity to push a disproportionate amount of unhealthy foods onto vulnerable people, it isn't right.

NotSayingImBatman Thu 14-May-15 15:42:06

We're not talking about a mass donation of Big Macs. We're talking about a perfectly legitimate feeding choice for infants.

There seems a huge rush to infantalise western women who choose to FF. There is also something deeply wrong about the suggestion that poor = stupid.

mijas99 Thu 14-May-15 15:43:16

The history of handing out formula to poor mothers across the world is a bad one and has led to many (some say hundreds of thousands) of babies dying from malnutrition and diarrhea

Breastfeeding may be "hard" in our modern concept of society but handing out formula to poor mums is not a sensible or progressive step in my opinion

Babies are not dying of starvation in the UK, and if they simply were not feeding then a trip to the GP would get them formula on prescription

SilverBirch2015 Thu 14-May-15 15:57:47

OP are you involved in trying to organise a corporate donation?

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