Infant and young child nutrition


The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. After six months of age, infants should receive age-appropriate foods while breastfeeding continues up to two years of age or beyond. Dairy Industry Ireland specialised nutrition member companies, which manufacture and sell infant formula in Ireland, strongly support this WHO recommendation and believe that breast milk is the optimal source of nutrients, hormones and antibodies.

Infant & Young Child Nutrition (IYCN) industry members

DII is the trade association representing the Irish IYCN industry, bringing together the expertise of companies with a presence on the Irish market. We provide accurate information on the sector through dialogue with all relevant stakeholders at national, EU and international level.

Our member companies manufacture product according to the strictest regulatory, safety and quality standards, carefully tailored to meet the specific nutritional requirements of infants and young children. DII works to facilitate development of an environment in which our members can continue to provide these products in a safe, and sustainable manner.

Our member products

  • Infant formula (0-6 months): Food intended for use by infants during the first months of life and satisfying by itself the nutritional requirements of such infants until the introduction of appropriate complementary feeding. Infant formula is recognised by the World Health Organisation as the safest, most nutritious, and only recommended feeding option when breastfeeding is not possible.
  • Follow on formula (6-12 months): Food intended for use by infants when appropriate complementary feeding is introduced, and which constitutes the principal liquid element in a progressively diversified diet for such infants. These products have been developed to meet the nutritional needs of older infant and should not be used as a breast milk substitute before 6 months.
  • Young child formula (12-36 months): Also known as growing-up milks or toddler milks, are formulated milk-based drinks that supplement the diets of a young child. These products are used to address inadequacy in intakes of nutrients such as iron and vitamin D during this highly developmental stage and are intended for inclusion as part of a mixed diet based on family foods.

Regulatory compliance

Manufacture of these products must strictly comply with all relevant national, EU and international regulation. Primary legislation includes;

  • Regulation (EU) No 609/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council on food intended for infants and young children, food for special medical purposes, and total diet replacement for weight control ('Food for Specific Groups'),
  • Regulation (EU) 2016/127 on the specific compositional and information requirements for infant formula and follow-on formula and regarding the requirements on information relating to infant and young child feeding. Infant formulae and follow-on formulae may only be placed on the market if they comply with this regulation. This includes compliance on; compositional requirements, suitability of ingredients, food information and nutrition declaration, nutrition and health claims or statements that can be made and the requirements for promotional and commercial practices.
  • As with all foods, Specialised Nutrition products must also comply with relevant legislation covering hygiene, labelling, including nutritional labelling, additives, contaminants, weights and measures, nutrition and health claims and advertising where appropriate i.e., general food law regulation (EC No 178/2002), Food Information to the Consumer (FIC) Regulation 1169/2011 and Nutrition and Health Claims Legislation (EC No 1924/2006).

Joint FSAI – DII Report

DII members and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland have jointly developed a Guidance for Compliance with Food Law When Communicating with Health Professionals about Infant Formula Products (Updated August 2021).