A UK mum has tearfully admitted to watering down her baby’s formula to reduce expense…

Sharing her story on Channel 4’s documentary Dispatches: The Great Formula Scandal, British mother Hayley has admitted that she waters down her baby’s formula to cut costs. Despite initially attempting to breastfeed, Hayley says she was forced to turn to formula but has been struggling to cope with the added expense.

Making Sacrifices

Hayley says she often had to make the decision to sacrifice her own meals to be able to feed her daughters. “Some days I wouldn’t eat, I would let my girls eat,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking to see your baby cry because you can’t afford her milk. She was starving.” With a monthly household income of $1800, Hayley says that by the time she and her husband pay their bills, they are left with just under $200 to buy essentials, including formula. “I have to make it stretch, it’s horrendous,” she admitted, going on to say that she is forced to water it down. Experts warn that watering down formula could prevent babies from getting the right balance of nutrients that they need for healthy growth and development.

Confusing and Misleading

The documentary went on to uncover the misleading information provided by expensive formula brands when in fact there was no difference between their product and more affordable options. Professor Anthony Costello, former director of the World Health Organisation, said that the trend is concerning. “If you’re a company and you want to promote your products, you want to reach people who are most influential,” he said. “That will be paediatricians, it will be dietitians, it will be nurses, midwives…and that is extremely worrying.”

This mum’s story is so heartbreaking, but what makes it even more upsetting is that she isn’t alone.

Do you feel the financial strain of buying formula to feed your baby? Let us know in the comments.


  • How sad. I hope this mum can access some help!

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  • That’s just terribly sad.

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  • I don’t quite understand it when parents say they can’s afford formula. There are so many affordable formulas on the market and in some instances it may only cost $15 per week to feed a baby. So if a family can’t afford to pay for baby formula perhaps they should have thought more carefully if they were able afford the costs of raising a child. IT will only get more expensive.

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  • I do feel for this Mum and many others about this situation. Look around for a cheaper trusted brand and check all labels for ingredients.

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  • I don’t think she is ‘forced’ to do anything, everyone has choices to make.
    Obviously it’s hard for her to live off so little, and I feel for her. I just don’t think prices of formula are to blame.
    And I also don’t agree with the whole, “shouldn’t of had another kid’ talk. What’s done is done, we aren’t really in a place to judge that one, not knowing the whole story. :)

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  • Low income families ad single mums and senior citizens not only i England but here in Australia have difficult time as food and other items are so over priced. Once I considered Australia fair priced in food etc but meat is off my budget and have to look for specials. Junk food is always on special but I want as the older person to eat healthy wich now basically is vegatables,cheese,eggs . Young people growing up today seem to on average buy lot of fast food, neither healthy for them or their children… It is a crying shame and should be made fairer,,

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  • Oh dear, I feel for her, very sad.

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  • Wow, this is sad and obviously a real problem for her baby. No good in shaming this Mum, she obviously needs some help.

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  • children are expensive. Even if she planned to breastfeed you have to account for unexpected things happening and having the financial stability to cope. Don’t have kids if you can’t afford them.

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  • If you can’t afford children then don’t have them. Same should be true all around the world

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  • Just another reason breast is best, it’s bloody hard but so worth the effort put in for the long term and outcomes, cost, health the list goes on

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  • It can be really tough to feed your family

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  • It’s hard to juggle at times, but everything else should be pared before watering down the formula.

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  • Such a hard choice for this mother to make, hope she is able to get some help so her baby doesn’t miss out

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  • Hey she is rich,….? I have to live on &1000 a month

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