Infant Feeding During Disasters

Infant Feeding During Disasters

Infographic highlighting benefits of breastfeeding, why it's important to continue doing so during a disaster, barriers to breastfeeding during disasters and how first responders can help.

Infographic showing benefits of breastfeeding and information on how to support breastfeeding mothers during disasters. Text equWhy breastfeeding during disasters matters:
• It cannot be put on ‘hold’ until the disaster is over. It can be impacted if stopped for even a short period of time.
• It protects infants from the risks of using contaminated water supplies during a disaster
• It can help protect against respiratory illnesses  and diarrhea, which can be fatal for displaced families
• Breast milk is available all the time without needing other supplies

Barriers to breastfeeding during a disaster:
• Lack of lactation support, whether it is a new mother, or a mother  who has just weaned a baby
• Being away from home  - displaced or having to relocate
• Being separated from family and other people who usually support the mother
• Lack of privacy, security, comfort, dim lights, and quiet in emergency shelters

Benefits of breastfeeding:
• Reduces risk of ovarian and breast cancer and type 2 diabetes for breastfeeding mothers
• Reduces risk of SIDS, lower respiratory infections, type 2 diabetes, asthma, obesity for breastfed infants
• Breastfed infants have fewer illnesses so their mothers miss less time from work
• There is less trash and plastic waste compared to formula and bottle supplies
• Communities can save $13 billion annually and prevent 1,000 deaths a year by promoting breastfeeding for at least the first 6 months of life

How responders can help:
• Ensure access to healthcare providers with lactation experience
• Create safe locations for pregnant and breastfeeding women
• Assure mothers that breastfeeding can provide sufficient nutrition for their babies when other foods aren’t available.
• Keep families together
• Provide water and food for breastfeeding mothers
• Give ready-to-use infant formula in a disposable cup as an alternative of last result

References: 
•2011 Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/calls/breastfeeding/index.html Visit disclaimer page
•American Academy of Pediatrics Infant Feeding During a Disaster: http://www2.aap.org/breastfeeding/files/pdf/InfantNutritionDisaster.pdf Visit disclaimer page
•La Leche League International: http://www.llli.org/faq/emergency.html Visit disclaimer page