Acceptable medical reasons for use of breast-milk substitutes

World Health Organization, UNICEF

Publication details

Editors: World Health Organization
Number of pages: 6
Publication date: 2009
Languages: English, Portuguese, Spanish
WHO reference number: WHO/NMH/NHD/09.01, WHO/FCH/CAH/09.01



A list of acceptable medical reasons for supplementation was originally developed by WHO and UNICEF as an annex to the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) package of tools in 1992. WHO and UNICEF agreed to update the list of medical reasons given that new scientific evidence had emerged since 1992, and that the BFHI package of tools was also being updated.

The process was led by the departments of Nutrition for Health and Development (NHD) and Child and Adolescent Health and Development (CAH) and included participation of a group of experts from a variety of fields, all WHO Regions and various WHO Departments.

The list of acceptable medical reasons for temporary or long-term use of breast-milk substitutes is made available both as an independent tool for health professionals working with mothers and newborn infants, and as part of the BFHI package.