UPDATE: Since I wrote this, Haiti aid workers have asked that no breast milk be sent, and that the Human Milk Bank Association of America retract their request for donations. Babble will have more on this later today.
Infrastructure is now in place for Haiti to accept donations of breast milk, which will start being distributed this week to infants at a neonatal intensive care unit.
The Human Milk Banking Association of America, as well as many other breastfeeding organizations, are calling on all lactating women in the U.S. to consider making an emergency donation.
The majority of mothers in Haiti breastfeed their infants, but with many children orphaned, separated from their parents, or suffering from chronic malnutrition, the need for breast milk for both infants and toddlers is immense. UNICEF stresses that donations of infant formula or powdered milk are NOT needed, and in fact would only create problems for the overworked aid workers in Haiti, since they require water and put infants at risk if their distribution is not strictly managed.
Monetary donations are, of course, always needed and will be used in part to help nurse lactating mothers back to health, so they may in turn feed their children.
If you can’t afford to donate money, but you do have breast milk to share, you can find a milk bank near you here.
Photo: Grub Street