Hull community group says mums are struggling to afford baby milk formula as costs surge

A baby staring at a bottle of formula.
Hull Sisters is a community group supporting women who are struggling with rising costs. Credit: PA

A community group which supports women in Hull has said some mothers are struggling to feed their children due to the rising cost of baby milk formula.

Hull Sisters has made an "urgent" appeal for donations of baby milk formula as data shows that the price of the cheapest brand of infant formula has increased by 22%.

This comes just a day after the British Pregnancy Advisory service warned that increasing numbers of vulnerable families will be forced to resort to unsafe feeding practices due to the soaring cost of infant milk.

Marina, whose name we have changed, is a mother of two from Hull and has another child on the way. She says she's worried about how she will afford milk for her unborn baby without the support of community groups such as Hull Sisters.

She told ITV News: "I'm not working, I don't get any benefits. It's really hard.

"I don't know what I'd do without the support [from Hull Sisters]. I cannot give them food like big people - they need the milk - and I don't want my children to get sick. But I just don't have that money."

An independent inquiry conducted by the charity Feed has found that families unable to afford infant formula resort to practices including watering down formula or feeding their babies with food that is not suitable, such as porridge.

It is for that reason that Hull Sisters have made an urgent plea for donations. They have taken to online marketplaces encouraging donations, while have made pleas on their social media platforms for support.

Clare Murphy, BPAS chief executive, said: "We know that families experiencing food poverty to resort to unsafe feeding methods, such as stretching out time between feeds and watering down formula.

"The government cannot stand by as babies are placed at risk of malnutrition and serious illness due to the cost of living crisis and the soaring price of infant formula."

Research by Mumsnet has found that among their users:

  • 87% have been worried about their finances in the last month, with 32% extremely or very worried

  • 15% have accrued debt to pay for essentials in the last month

  • 15% have skipped a meal to save money in the last month

A Government spokesperson said: "Our priority will always be to support the most vulnerable and we recognise that people are struggling with rising prices which is why we are protecting millions of those most in need with at least £1,200 of direct payments and providing all households with £400 towards energy costs this year.

"Our immediate support for families also includes our Energy Price Guarantee, saving around £900 for a typical household over winter and our Household Support Fund is helping people with essential costs. Meanwhile the Chancellor recently announced a further extensive cost of living package, ensuring those most in need are supported next year as well as this."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.