Lack of adequate education on proper bottle-feeding practices might put infants at increased health risk, says researchers.
A systematic review of studies has shown that while mothers recognize the benefits of breastfeeding, those who bottle-feed with infant formula do not receive adequate information and support from their healthcare providers and thus, ultimately put their baby's health at risk.
"While it is important to promote breastfeeding it is also necessary to ensure that the needs of bottle-feeding mothers are not overlooked," said the authors.
To help meet this need, the International Formula Council (IFC) has provided helpful online resources, including video and print information that review the basics of safe infant formula preparation
"One of our goals as an association is to help parents make informed infant feeding choices. Infant formula manufacturers have long provided their own brand-specific information on infant formula labels and websites," said Mardi Mountford, IFC Executive Vice President.
"Our online tools build on these resources and offer parents practical tips that help them prepare and store infant formula appropriately," Mountford added.
Infant formula manufacturers are required by law to provide clear and explicit information about the proper mixing, handling and storage of their products. But mothers also need to have that information reinforced by members of the healthcare community, to ensure the instructions are understood.
The researchers from University of Cambridge discovered that without appropriate education, mothers might be making mistakes.
"Such errors and other variations in formula-feeding may have both short- and long-term health consequences," said the authors.
The researchers also found a common thread throughout - mothers who bottle-fed their infants were riddled with negative feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and failure.
According to another CDC study, nearly 80 percent of all babies born in the U.S. are breastfed at birth. Yet, for those mothers who cannot or choose not to breastfeed, research shows these mothers not only want information on bottle-feeding, but are in great need of education to ensure optimal health for their infants.
The review appears in Archives of Disease in Childhood, a publication of the peer-reviewed British Medical Journal.