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infant and young child breastfeeding during emergencies

One thing is for sure is that disasters and emergencies will occur and when we least expect them. The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the infant and young child feeding dynamic with dangerous compromises to the initiation and establishment of breastfeeding.

pic courtesy of standardmedia

During National Breastfeeding month Aug 17-24 spotlights Infant and Young Child Feeding During Emergencies" With global warming and climate change we are experiencing an abundance of natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods and we can add the effects of a global pandemic. During emergencies there may be no clean water available, no sterile environment to ensure the sterilization of feeding and cleaning utensils. During these types of events breast milk is detrimentally important and should be supported and encouraged to save lives.

We need swift policy change to affirm that breastfeeding mothers are supported during emergencies and to ensure that babies have the cleanest food available, human milk. A change in policy is the only way to ensure breastfeeding and human milk options are protected. Here are three ways to take action and urge policy makers to integrate infant and young child feeding into future emergency preparedness and response effort.

  • Expand the Federal Interagency Breastfeeding Task Force to include emergency and infectious disease experts

  • Direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency to ensure breastfeeding mothers have appropriate services and supplies during a disaster or pandemic

  • Enact World Health Assembly Resolution 12.6 related to infant and young child feeding in emergencies

To make your voice heard and send an email click here.

For more resources on breastfeeding during an emergency please click our sources for this post below.

Jada Metcalf | is a mom of two, Certified Breastfeeding Specialist, Postpartum Doula, ROSE Community Transformer, IBCLC in training and a lactation and postpartum wellness business owner.

Health information on this site is based on peer-reviewed medical journals and highly respected health organizations and institutions including the CDC (Center for Disease Control), AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), WHO ( World Health Organization), NIH (National Institute of Health), ABM (Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine)


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