The online forum Mumsnet has criticsed the “intrusive” sales tactics of a childcare company endorsed by the NHS. Bounty gives out 2.6 million free “baby bags” a year, containing samples of babycare products, money-off coupons and catalogues. They are available in most hospitals.

However, it has been accused of approaching new mothers within hours of them giving birth, offering to take mother and baby photographs and collecting contact details that are later sold to third parties. “Mumsnet users have reported being hassled by overzealous Bounty salespeople, with some implying parents will only be able to claim child benefit if they fill in Bounty’s forms,” said Justine Roberts of Mumsnet.

Bounty told the British Medical Journal that 90 per cent of mothers it spoke to were satisfied with its service.