Disaster Preparedness: Breastfeeding Matters During an Emergency

One of the things that we can depend on, unfortunately, is that disasters and emergencies will continue to happen around the world. From tornadoes and hurricanes to earthquakes and floods to the effects of war, few people are immune to the possibility of dealing with at least one or more of these situations sometime in their lifetime. During a disaster or emergency, breastfeeding becomes even more important and has been proven to save lives.

The American Academy of Pediatrics states:

In an emergency
• There may be no clean drinking water.
• There may be no sterile environment.
• It may be impossible to ensure cleaning and sterilization of feeding utensils.

The cleanest, safest food for an infant is human milk.

Below is a list of resources for those looking for detailed information about breastfeeding during emergencies:

WHO Breastfeeding in emergencies: a question of survival

Emergency Nutrition Network

IBFAN (International Baby Food Action Network)

American Academy of Pediatrics


Transcript from WHO podcast from 2009: The importance of breastfeeding during emergencies

Australian Breastfeeding Association

My power went out and I have breastmilk in the freezer – Help!

Emergency Baby carriers (broken glass is a real concern!)