The background of the Application is protection , promotion and support of breastfeeding. The story goes back to India’s biggest commitment in the interest of infants and young children; the Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles, and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act 1992 and Amendment Act 2003(IMS Act). The enactment of the IMS Act is one of BPNI’s long lasting achievements in protecting breastfeeding from commercial influence as well as ensuring restricted growth of formula milks, which contributes to advantage to the health of India’s children both in short and long term through improved breastfeeding rates.This law prohibits all forms of advertising and promotion of baby foods and bottles for children under the age of 2 years. The IMS Act prohibits any kind of promotion by any person, of infant milk substitutes, feeding bottles and infant
foods, which includes advertising, gifts and samples, promotion of foods for babies under two years of age, use of health care system, pictures of mother or baby on labels, sponsorship, gifts to health care workers or their associations and donation or distribution of informational or educational material. IMS Act does not prohibit sale of baby foods and feeding bottles.
Excerpts from the statement of objects and reasons of the IMS Act illustrate the intent of the Parliament “…Inappropriate feeding practices lead to infant malnutrition, morbidity and mortality in our children. Promotion of infant milk substitutes and related products like feeding bottles and teats do constitute a health hazard…In the absence of strong interventions designed to protect, promote and support breastfeeding, this decline can assume dangerous proportions subjecting millions of infants to greater risks of infections, malnutrition and death.” The current scientific evidence also supports this view.
Women need protection from promotional activities of baby food companies that push them towards unnecessary use of infant formula, without providing them with any information on its safety or consequences.
This application will give power to common people in contributing to the enforcement of IMS Act by reporting promotional activities that are banned. BPNI will document these reports and evidences and would take necessary steps as the gazetted organization to implement the IMS Act by Government of India.
Other feature in the application will help women before an during their pregnancy to access skilled counselling support or to become one! Also, the gives opportunity to common people engage with BPNI for breastfeeding promotion.