Special Issue - Haitian Earthquake 2010

There have been so many stories of the Earthquake in Haiti and the best way we can help the mothers and babies there I decided to put together a special newsletter with some of the articles, stories and links.

This past summer when the theme for World Breastfeeding Week was Breastfeeding in Emergencies, I shared some information on why formula donations are extremely dangerous in disaster situations. As people started to look for ways to help the Haitian people in the last few weeks I was shocked at the individuals who thought they knew better then the experts. People were using Twitter and other social networking to urge people to send formula to Haiti and accusing of those who were posting the opposite of trying to starve babies for an ideological point. Every aid organization was asking people not to send formula and other inappropriate food and clothing items but somehow these people instead of doing their research thought this was just an issue of overzealous breastfeeding women trying to make a point. It is very sad that people feel so threatened by facts that aren't in their belief system and hopefully many other people were able to learn about aid in disaster situations. Please read the articles below to better educate yourselves and feel free to share this important information with others.

Whatever your beliefs are, please pray for and/or think good thoughts for and if you can donate to help a nation of people in terrible distress.


This updated statement from the International Association of Lactation Consultants explains the earlier call for Breast Milk donations and why no more are needed for Haiti.

UPDATED STATEMENT: January 28, 2010
The Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC), International Lactation Consultant Association/United States Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA/USLCA), and La Leche League International (LLLI) strongly affirm the importance of breastfeeding in emergency situations, and call on relief workers and health care providers serving victims of disasters to protect, promote, and support mothers to breastfeed their babies. During an emergency, breastfeeding mothers provide their infants with safe food and water and disease protection that maximize their chances of survival.
This week, the International Milk Bank Project and Quick International Courier coordinated a shipment of milk from the HMBANA member banks to supplement a mother’s own milk for the premature, medically fragile, and orphaned infants aboard the U.S. Navy ship Comfort stationed off the coast of Haiti. This milk will help this small group of infants. In this highly unusual circumstance the infrastructure associated with the Comfort’s resources allows U.S. sourced donor milk to help fragile Haitian babies.
Donor milk, however, is not a solution for the large number of infants and young children affected by the earthquake in Haiti. Members of the public who wish to promote the survival of mothers and babies in Haiti can donate money to the following organizations: UNICEF, Save the Children Alliance, World Vision, and Action Against Hunger. These organizations are using best practice to aid both breastfed and non-breastfed infants. Members of the public can be confident that donations to these organizations will support breastfeeding and help save the lives of babies. Read Full Release

To learn more about Human Milk Banking for babies in North America and how you can help visit

Thousands of Haiti babies ‘could die from milk donations’

Martin Bentham, in Port-au-Prince

Thousands of Haitian infants are at risk of illness and death because wellwishers are supplying the wrong food, world health chiefs warned today.

The main threat to infants aged up to six months is powdered baby milk mixed in unclean water, which can cause diarrhoea, dehydration and death.

Bottles and teats which cannot be sterilized are also a risk, and a shipment of frozen milk, which could have spread infection after thawing, had to be turned away.

The volume of potentially life-threatening items being sent into Haiti is so great aid workers were having to waste large amounts of time “preventing harm”.


Lastly, I share a post on a friends blog that has a translated letter from a Spanish pediatrician and activist which explains how formula donations benefit the marketing of formula and not babies. Also with a moving picture from Haiti of an injured and exhausted mom and her oblivious nursing toddler.

The donations of formula for bottle feeding in times of catastrophe such as war, earthquake and floods, are very dangerous. In fact, they are not donations, but instead free samples - it is the means by which formula companies compete to create new markets. If you pay attention to the news, you will frequently hear how an airplane has departed loaded with FORMULA - rarely will you hear of a plane loaded with beans or noodles. That is because the companies that sell noodles and beans, unless they have an especially generous director, have no commercial interest in making donations. While the country in question is in ruins, it is unable to pay for food; when they overcome the catastrophe they will eat their own beans grown in their own country, or their own noodles made in by local enterprises.




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