MSNBC is reporting that there is no need for breast milk in Haiti. Not only that, but it’s not wanted:
“The international Emergency Nutrition Network has asked one group, the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, to retract a press release this week that issued an “urgent call” for breast milk for orphaned and premature infants in Haiti, saying the donations contradict best practices for babies in emergencies.” (emphasis added)
The real kicker is that this is a totally inaccurate statement. Breast milk, even when it comes from another mother, is preferable, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), when it comes to infant nutrition. Formula requires clean water, something sorely lacking in a disaster. You can’t even turn on the radio without hearing how it is hard for people to get drinking water. The ramifications of using formula in this instance is of great public health concern.
Emergencies and breastfeeding was the recent subject of the World Breastfeeding Week Campaign last August. It prompted the WHO to put out documents discussing the benefits of breast milk in such crises as they are facing in Haiti.