|Residents wait in line at the Superdome for shelter|
during Hurricane Katrina. Image source: chron.com
During emergency situations, the cleanest, safest food is human milk.
Myth: Mothers who are under stress cannot breastfeed.
Fact: Mothers will continue to lactate in times of stress but will need adequate support.
Myth: If a mother is malnourished, she either cannot breastfeed or the milk she produces is poor quality.
Fact: Malnourished mothers or mothers with illnesses CAN provide healthy and safe milk for their babies.
The Problem with Formula Donations During Emergencies
“In past emergencies, 12–75% of all babies have died, so any factor that increases disease transmission and reduces the ability of babies to withstand disease may well result in their death.” - World Health Organization
At the time of Hurricane Katrina, information was not readily available to support optimal infant nutrition; rescue workers were not trained in breastfeeding support and management. Overall, the distribution of formula discouraged breastfeeding, decreased mothers’ confidence, and increased the risk of infection, illness, and death.
The Clear Advantages of Breastfeeding During an Emergency
The Disadvantages of Formula-Feeding During an Emergency
Contributing author: Samantha Johnson is a freelance writer, blogger, wife, and breastfeeding mom. Her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from California Baptist University has led to more than six years of full-time writing experience and countless exciting opportunities. Aside from writing, her passions include drawing, painting, iced coffee, reaching her goals, balancing life's priorities, and encouraging others. You can visit her blog at unlazylike.wordpress.com.