I have written several posts about breastfeeding during emergencies and calamities. They are spread out through 4-5 years. In this post, I will attempt to compile them so you can easily click and refer to the ones relevant to you.
For breastfeeding moms, a top worry during storms would be brownouts especially on how these affect frozen breastmilk. Visit my post “Brownouts and Breastmilk” to read how you can preserve your breastmilk during power outages and information on refreezing milk.
In 2009, the theme of World Breastfeeding Week was “Breastfeeding, a crucial priority for child survival in emergencies,” and the importance of breastfeeding during calamities was emphasized. However, despite this campaign, calls for formula milk donations still abound. In this 2009 post written at the height of Ondoy, I shared how breastfeeding moms can help and also shared a chart from WBW on how to minimize risks of artificial feedings.
What breastfeeding moms can do is donate excess milk to UP-PGH, Fabella, PCMC. Please do not bring them directly to the evacuation centers. The needs of each center must be assessed. Often, moms at the centers are breastfeeding – they need encouragement, support and food to continue so. Dole-outs of milk won’t be helpful. If you donate formula milk powder, donations should be made to the Department of Health and the milk is unlabelled – no branding.
|From Unang Yakap-EINC Facebook Page|
Please read this article. “Breast-milk substitutes increase the risk of these illnesses due to unsafe water used to mix formula and lack of fuel to sterilize products.” I have shared again and again why formula milk donations to evacuation centers are prohibited. Please read this post with comments from Velvet and Dr. Mianne Silvestre and this post with a sharing from Dr. Z on where moms in evacuation centers get water.
If you argue – hey there are formula feeding moms in the evacuation centers also — solution: get the milk from the health worker assigned to you. What is prohibited is direct dole-outs to moms and babies. If you really want to help, give it to the Department of Health who will then assess who really needs that product.
If you are collecting and storing milk for donation, read this post about the guidelines prepared by the Unang Yakap-EINC campaigners. Refreezing guidelines are quite strict there but Velvet Escario-Roxas shared that she learned from Diane Spatz that refreezing is permissible – if the milk was thawed out by accident – but not as general practice.
As we learned in Ondoy – learnings from missions and breastfeeding in the face of Ondoy, breastfeeding moms need to be protected during emergencies and calamities. Meanwhile, Trisha Lim who was a victim of Sendong, shared here that source of potable water is a huge problem during calamities. Finally, in a 3-part series, Dr. Lei Camiling-Alfonso who personally went to Compostela Valley also shared the same observations: most mothers are breastfeeding and there is no need to call for formula milk donations.
So please! When you see calls for formula milk donations – remind them it is prohibited under the Milk Code! Not only that, it is unnecessary and will only cause more infant deaths – potable water source? cleaning supplies? If they really think that there are babies who need that infant formula milk powder at the evacuation centers, the only way to donate legally is to give it straight to Department of Health.
Please spread the word!