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Protecting breast feeding from breast milk substitutes. Royal college supports promotion of breast feeding [letter]
BMJ. British Medical Journal. 1998 Oct 3; 317(7163):949-50.The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health suggested interventions to increase the number of women who breast feed their babies in its report to the Acheson inquiry on poverty and health. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) had a stand, which offered information on its 1991 initiative promoting breast feeding, at the trade exhibition of the college's annual general meeting in 1998. Members and fellows gave unequivocal support to a policy statement which encouraged exclusive breast feeding for the first 4-6 months of an infant's life followed by breast feeding accompanied by weaning food for as long as the mother wished. However, Costello and Sachdev, in discussing attempts by manufacturers of infant formula to seek "endorsement by association" or "passivity towards their products," chastised the Royal College for not joining an interagency group on breast feeding and for accepting research funds from infant formula manufacturers. The College did not join the interagency group because of concerns regarding the proposed research methodology. The College will accept no more research funds or donations from infant formula manufacturers until the recommendations and report of its ethics committee regarding breast milk substitute marketing, which were requested by the 1997 annual general meeting, are finished in late 1998.