"Infant Formula Feeding" - online now!

Not all infants are exclusively breastfed for the recommended 4-6 month period. In such cases, infant formula of high quality is considered the only suitable breast milk substitute. Having a broad understanding of infant formula feeding practices including standard guidelines, composition, correct preparation and potential associated risks will help to ensure that formula-fed infants thrive and have the best possible start in life. This module aims to provide an overview of infant formula and outline the most important aspects associated with infant formula feeding.

This module has received accreditation by the German Medical Association with 12 CME credits.

This module has received accreditation by the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (EACCME) with 10 CME credits.

Module overview
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This first unit presents an overview of infant formula feeding and provides an outline of the internationally accepted types of infant formula. The dangers of inappropriate formula feeding are discussed in the form of a case study on hypernatremia. Significant advances in infant formula composition, safety and regulation are presented in an outline of historical 20th and 21st century developments. The learner is also introduced to the WHO Code of Marketing for Breastmilk Substitutes.  An overview of the current legislative status of WHO Code of Marketing is presented and practical recommendations for successful implementation of the code are discussed.

There are certain circumstances, particularly health-related, in which breastfeeding is not recommended.  The majority of reasons for using infant formula are not medical but lifestyle or societal based and most infants will receive some formula within the first year especially during the transition to complementary foods. This unit covers both medical and non-medical contraindications for breastfeeding, highlighting the decision-making processes behind formula feeding choices. Also discussed in this unit are the psychological and emotional implications for mothers who choose to formula feed and the societal effects of infant feeding decisions.

The aim of this unit is to familiarize the learner with the standard composition of infant formula.  An overview of the current standards for formula is given and the role and function of major components in infant health and development is discussed. Quality and safety of infant formula is discussed with a focus on historical examples of safety issues and the development of current regulatory systems. Future prospects for improvements to the quality and safety regulation of infant formula are also touched upon.

Ensuring that parents and caregivers consistently prepare infant formula accurately and hygienically is essential for the health of formula fed infants. The aim of this unit is to outline for the learner the current recommendations for safe preparation and handling of infant formula.  The reasoning behind differing guidelines for infant formula preparation is discussed in this unit and shortfalls in the current preparation practices of parents and caregivers are highlighted.  The dangers of bacterial contamination are reported as well as steps to avoid transmission of bacteria to infants. Recommendations and tips for safe and nurturing bottle-feeding techniques are also described. The importance of timely weaning is discussed and health concerns associated with prolonged heavy bottle use are described as well as suggested weaning intervention programs.

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