MOTHERS who choose not to breast feed in maternity units in mid Essex will have to provide their own supply of milk.

Mid Essex Hospitals NHS Trust is introducing the new policy from October to enforce the message, breast is best.

New mums at the three units in Chelmsford, Braintree and Maldon will have to take their own supply of milk formula for the duration of their stay.

This should be the ready prepared variety in cartons, and not powdered formula which needs to be prepared. Bottles and teats will still be provided by all the maternity units.

The trust said the changes are in line with standards set out by the Baby Friendly Initiative, which is a World Health Organisation programme promoting excellence in care of pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers and babies.

Denise Gray, lead midwife for infant feeding, said: “Breastfeeding helps women to bond with their babies.

“We find many mums want to breast feed, but may give up in the early stages. This can be for a number of reasons, but the majority of women can successfully breast feed their baby if they have support and guidance.

“The trust has put in place new drop-in sessions as well as breastfeeding peer support, which will enable us to help new mums cope better with any problems they may have, which in turn will give both them and their baby the very best start in life.”

Mrs Gray said mothers would be fully supported, whatever their choice, and supplies of milk formula would be kept at the units for clinical need.

Breast milk gives babies all the nutrients they need for the first six months of life, helping to protect them from infections and diseases, and reduces the rate of asthma and obesity.

For more information on breastfeeding, women can speak to their midwife or visit www.breastfeeding. For more information, contact Denise Gray on 01245 513039 or e-mail