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2009 National Women's Conference
23 October 2008

In September 2008, there were distressing reports from China of many infant deaths because their formula milk had been corrupted with melamine.

Previously as a predominantly rural/agricultural nation most of the tragic victims would have been almost exclusively fed on their mother’s breast milk.

In the rapid expansion of China’s struggle to become an industrialised lion in world economics many “Western” practices have been adopted and increasingly bottle feeding of infants is one of them.

This exodus from traditional methods, despite world-wide knowledge that breast-feeding is naturally the best way to feed a baby is partly due to the aggressive marketing ploys of the formula manufacturers. To continue breast feeding exclusively until the infant is at least six months old gives the best protection to both the child and the mother.

A recent report from the Department of Health states that mothers who have breast fed their babies in total for a period of six months or more considerably reduced their chances of developing breast cancer in later years.

If pressure were to continue to be applied, to halt the aggressive campaign of baby formula producers using subliminal advertising and the illegal flouting of the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes and replaced with positive images of babies being fed naturally, may go a good way to dispel the myths that bottle is more convenient; one myth is true, it certainly is more expensive!

The support of UNISON and the National Women’s Committee is applauded on this issue and this motion calls upon the National Women’s Committee to continue to:

1)Promote positive breast feeding in all UNISON magazines and publications.

2)Work with the coalition members of the breast feeding manifesto to produce and distribute positive images as wide as possible.

3)Work with Labour Link to lobby government to tackle the aggressive marketing techniques by infant formula companies.