In my previous post, I shared how breastfeeding her Yohann helped young mom Yoly cope with the flooding brought about by Ondoy to her residence. This morning, I received an article from Alex of UNICEF/WHO, which was prepared by the International Code Docmentation Centre on The Code and infant feeding in emergencies. Apparently, in droughts, floods, earthquakes and other calamaties in various parts of the world, milk, feeding bottles and teats manufacturers have been actively donating their products to evacuation centers. Thus, there have been several code violations in times of emergencies, such as milk donations from foreign governments with milk products labeled in a foreign language during the Java earthquake in 2006, donation of formula by a service organization during the civil unrest in East Timor in 2002 and many more.
Donations such as these send out the wrong messages to mothers in the evacuation centers – undermining established breastfeeding programs or worse — suggesting to moms that formula milk will be healthier for babies during the times of emergencies as moms themselves do not have enough food to eat. Click picture below to see do’s and don’ts in emergency infant feeding.
If you are a Pinoy breastfeeding mom, you can help by donating some of your breastmilk to the Philippine General Milk Bank. Dr. Mianne Silvestre, noted neonatologist and breastfeeding advocate, is spearheading the milk collection which will be pasteurized and cup-fed to babies in evacuation centers. You can call PGH at 5548400 loc. 3409 for instructions on how to donate.
If PGH is too far from you, you can also go to The Medela House – express and donate your milk there. The Medela Moms, Maricel and Beng will provide the milk bags where you can put your expressed milk for donating. Milk donations will be accepted until 4pm today, 30 September 2009. The Medela Moms has also agreed to subsidize the cost of feeding cups for donation. Feeding cups are P60 each but The Medela Moms will shoulder half the cost.
Breastmilk is clean, free and always available. Whatever few ounces each lactating mom can donate will add up and make a huge difference in the lives of the baby victims of Typhoon Ondoy.