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Application of the Code with Vulnerable Families in Developed Countries

This question was posted the Infant and young child feeding interventions forum area and has 4 replies.

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Sara Luis Hannan

Certified Lactation Consultant, IBCLC

Normal user

12 Aug 2021, 18:13

Dear all,

I've recently returned to live in my home country, Spain, after living in Lebanon for many years and being involved in the IYCF field and the implementation of the Code. I've been shocked to find that here in Spain, at least some, international and national organisations are completely disregarding the application of the Code, apparently mostly through ignorance.

After communicating with them and trying to share resources on the importance of not carrying out indiscriminate distributions of artificial infant milk and foods, I was sad to realise that while there is a certain amount of documentation related to the implementation of the Code in emergency situations, there really is none that directly relates to vulnerable families in developed countries that receive support from NGOs. This means that local and international NGOs (and I include The Salvation Army and national Food Banks), with perhaps typical resistance to questions about their procedures, don't relate to documentation pertaining to emergency scenarios and dismiss the need to respect the Code.

I would really appreciate any experiences anybody may have had in similar situations in non-emergency situations that may help to build knowledge and perhaps help to develop materials that could be used in such cases.

Thanks in advance for your help and I look forward to receiving your replies.

Vicky Sibson

First Steps Nutrition Trust

Normal user

14 Aug 2021, 13:27

Hi Sara, 

I work in the UK and on behalf of my NGO First Steps Nutrition Trust, I am secretariat of the Baby Feeding Law Group UK which calls for the Code to be implemented in the UK. Take a look at our webpages to see the sort of work we do as I think you'd find it relevant to your questions. For the issue of formula provision through food banks you might also find this UNICEF UK statement interesting It is a divisive topic here given that the UK has a formula feeding culture, but many food banks do follow this guidance. 

Good luck! 


Sara Luis Hannan

Certified Lactation Consultant, IBCLC

Normal user

18 Aug 2021, 12:31

Victoria, that's fantastic to be starting off with! Thanks a million! I'll start with this and see where I can reach in the meantime. I really appreciate you taking the time to reply. :)

Sally Etheridge

IBCLC/Programme Coordinator Leicester Mammas

Normal user

18 Aug 2021, 13:06

Mammas is an organisation in Leiceser that supports pregnant and new mothers. We are fully signed up to the Code and are members of the Baby Feeding Law Group in the UK.

Leicester has a high number of vulnerable families, and this is an area I have engaged with for many years. We are piloting a project to support pregnant or new mothers facing any sort of adversity, with feeding their baby and any other needs they have. This inlcudes support with purchasing foormula milk where necessary, in line with IYCF-E guidance and of course the Code. We were aware that there may be new parents who do not get the support they need to breastfeed for a whole range of reasons, and who need support with safe formula feeding and possibly help with buying formula milk without turning to organisations who take donations of milk.

We have trained breastfeeding supporters running the project who will also ensure that those who are referred and request formula milk do get a feeding assessment and also get information about safe preparation and storage of formula milk.

zahe kollet

docteur en nutrition

Normal user

18 Aug 2021, 13:19

Thank you very much for this link that you give on the application of the codes, I admit that until now in Ivory Coast I have not yet heard of this.

thanks again.

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