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What is the Healthy Start Scheme?

If you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be entitled to get help to buy healthy food and milk. Families also receive free vitamin supplements through the scheme.

If you’re eligible, you’ll be sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use in some UK shops, this will be topped up every 4 weeks.

You’ll get:

  • £4.25 each week of your pregnancy (from the 10th week of your pregnancy)
  • £8.50 each week for children from birth to 1 year old
  • £4.25 each week for children between 1 and 4 years old

You will no longer be eligible after your child’s 4th birthday. 

What you can buy with the Healthy Start Scheme

You are only allowed to buy certain types of milk, infant formula, fruit and vegetables.

Fruit and vegetables

These can be:

  • fresh or frozen or tinned
  • fresh, dried or tinned pulses
  • whole or chopped
  • packaged or loose
  • fruit in fruit juice, or fruit or vegetables in water
Plain cow’s milk

This needs to be plain cow’s milk, which is pasteurised, sterilised, long-life or ultra-heat treated (UHT).

Infant formula

This must be:

  • stage one only (first infant formula)
  • made from cow’s milk
  • nutritionally complete

Look for ‘complete nutrition’, ‘from birth’, ‘from birth to 6 months’, or ‘from birth to 12 months’ on the label.

It cannot be follow-on formula or milk (‘from 6 months’, or ‘from 6 to 12 months’).

You can find more about infant formula at NHS choices.