ISDI statement on The Lancet’s ‘2023 Series on Breastfeeding’

ISDI and its members recognise that breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for healthy infants and support exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, and continued breastfeeding for up to two years and beyond.

When parents are unable to breastfeed or choose not to, a scientifically developed infant formula is the only food recognised by the WHO as a suitable and safe alternative to breastmilk. In these situations, infant formula is life saving and life sustaining.

Parents and caregivers should be supported when choosing how to feed their baby, and should have that choice respected, whatever their feeding journey. It is important that parents can make informed choices about the options that are right for their baby and situation. We support parents with factual, scientific nutritional information, including on packaging and on digital channels, so that they can make the right decision for them. It is a responsibility we take seriously.

ISDI acknowledges the importance of, and is committed to, the principles and aims of the WHO’s 1981 International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (WHO Code)[1] as implemented through national legislation. ISDI members comply with all laws and ‎regulations in the ‎countries in which they operate and have extensive internal approval and audit ‎processes in place ‎‎to ensure their online and offline content meets all legal, regulatory ‎and nutritional ‎science ‎requirements, in compliance with national laws and applicable industry codes.

ISDI members are cognizant of their responsibility to further the health of infants and young children that are not – or cannot be – breastfed and are thus individually taking additional steps to actively raise awareness of the WHO Code and applicable laws amongst third parties. Therefore, ISDI wishes to contribute to a balanced and sensible debate about responsible marketing of formula and protecting and supporting breastfeeding.

[1] See the World Health Organization’s International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes