Quality statement 6: Formula feeding

Quality statement

Information about bottle feeding is discussed with women or main carers of formula‑fed babies.

Rationale

Babies who are fully or partially formula fed can develop infections and illnesses if their formula milk is not prepared safely. In a small number of babies these cause serious harm and are life threatening, and require the baby to be admitted to hospital. The mother or main carer of the baby needs consistent, evidence‑based advice about how to sterilise feeding equipment and safely prepare formula milk.

Quality measures

Structure

Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that information about bottle feeding is discussed with women or main carers of formula‑fed babies.

Data source: Local data collection.

Process

The proportion of women or main carers of formula‑fed babies who have information about bottle feeding discussed with them.

Numerator – the number of women or main carers in the denominator who have information about bottle feeding discussed with them.

Denominator – the number of women or main carers of formula‑fed babies.

Data source: Local data collection.

Outcome

a) Rates of hospital admissions for formula feeding‑related conditions.

Data source: Local data collection.

b) Women's and main carers' knowledge of how to sterilise feeding equipment and safely prepare formula milk.

Data source: The Infant Feeding Survey 2010 collected self‑report data on how mothers prepared powdered formula feed in the last 7 days, including whether they had followed all 3 recommendations for making up feeds (only making 1 feed at a time; making feeds within 30 minutes of the water boiling; and adding the water to the bottle before the powder).

c) Women's and main carers' satisfaction with feeding support.

Data source: The Care Quality Commission Maternity Services Survey 2010 collected information about women's experiences of maternity care and this included a section on 'Feeding your baby'.

What the quality statement means for service providers, health and social care practitioners, and commissioners

Service providers ensure that information about bottle feeding is discussed with women or main carers of formula‑fed babies.

Healthcare practitioners discuss information about bottle feeding with women or main carers of formula‑fed babies.

Commissioners ensure that they commission services in which information about bottle feeding is discussed with women or main carers of formula‑fed babies.

What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

Women or main carers of formula‑fed babies have the opportunity to discuss information about bottle feeding.

Source guidance

  • Postnatal care (2014) NICE guideline CG37 recommendations 1.3.42, 1.3.43 and 1.3.45.

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Formula‑fed baby

This statement relates to mothers and main carers who totally or partially formula feed their baby, and breastfeeding mothers who plan to formula feed their baby.

Information provision

The woman or main carer of the baby should receive accurate, evidence‑based information that includes written information about formula feeding.

To ensure the mother or main carer has a good understanding of how to prepare formula feeds, it may be appropriate to give a demonstration as well as discussing bottle feeding.

Main carer

For the majority of babies the main carer will be the mother. For some babies the main carer could be a close relative, for example the baby's father or grandparent, or for looked‑after babies this could be a foster parent.

Equality and diversity considerations

Communication and information‑giving between women (and their families) and members of the maternity team is a key aspect of this statement. Relevant adjustments will need to be in place for anyone who has communication difficulties, and for those who don't speak or read English. Verbal and written information should be appropriate in terms of women's (and their families) level of literacy, culture, language and family circumstances.