This guidance is for health professionals, commissioners and managers, pharmacists, those providing pre-school childcare and other relevant public, community, voluntary and private sector organisations.
It relates to pregnant women (and those who are planning to become pregnant), mothers and other carers of children aged under 5 and their children. It is particularly aimed at those on a low income or from a disadvantaged group.
Recommendations for health professionals include:
- Provide women with information and advice on the benefits of taking a vitamin D supplement (10 micrograms [μg] per day) during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
- Provide Healthy Start vitamin supplements (folic acid and vitamin C and D) for eligible pregnant women.
- NHS commissioners and managers are advised to implement a structured programme to encourage breastfeeding within their organisations. It should include training for health professionals.
- Encourage breastfeeding by providing information, practical advice and ongoing support – including the help of breastfeeding peer supporters and advice on how to store expressed breast milk safely.
- Once infants are aged 6 months, encourage and help parents and carers to progressively introduce them to a variety of nutritious foods, in addition to milk.
Recommendations 14, 17 and 20 in this guidance have been amended to be consistent with UK World Health Organization growth charts (2009) and advice from the Department of Health on bottle feeding (2011). Most recent changes: July 2011
In line with ‘The NICE public health guidance development process: An overview for stakeholders including public health practitioners, policy makers and the public (second edition, 2009)’, the next scheduled date for review for update will be in July 2014. For more information about how this decision was reached, please see ‘PH11 Maternal and child nutrition: review decision’.