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 terrible.must be such a hard situation to be oj

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  • This is rtruely sad and i hope someone offers donation of baby formula. The baby shouldn’t have to suffer

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  • This can’t be good for the child. I would cut costs elsewhere rather than water down my baby’s formula. Either that, or get some financial assistance.

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  • This is awful. I understand that formula is seen as a choice, but it isn’t a choice for everyone.

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  • This is a terrible situation. Hopefully she get can get some help from somwhere?

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  • Formula should cost less. I understand her frustration. :-(

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  • Such a heart breaking story, which I feel is more common than you realise. These companies charge a premium for something essential. I wouldn’t water it down, cutting costs elsewhere always


    • I agree with you – there is a lot of hardship and support is needed.

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  • I would hope that local organisations would be able to help this family with costs.
    Many families do struggle and the important issue is for a child to be reared with everything it needs to thrive.

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  • This is heartbreaking. Hope she gets support because watering down formula could have a negative effect on the baby.

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  • Poor mother, I hope something works out for her. Such a sad story

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  • You have to feel for this mum, she is doing the best she can on what they afford and the cost of living is high.

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  • This is sad but I would not do this. My kids come first so as long as they are fed that’s all that matters. If I need to live off rice bubbles until finances improve, then so be it.

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  • Maybe she should have considered their budget before having a second child?

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  • I don’t understand why people have kids if they cant afford to feed or clothe them? They are expensive and they will become more expensive, how are they not aware of this? Instead they want to jepordise their babies health by doing something like this?

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  • I was lucky enough to be able to breastfeed so I didn’t have the worry of the expense of buying formula. Such a sad sad situation to be in. I guess some could ask……why keep having babies if you can’t afford to feed them? It should be a basic necessity available to all. I cried for this mum

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