Haiti Disaster Ignites Breastmilk vs. Formula Debate

breastmilk-or-formula-donation-for-haiti-earthquake-victimsGo over and read Tracy Clark-Flory’s excellent post on Salon‘s Broadsheet about whether or not we should be donating baby formula to Haiti. She describes a dust-up via Twitter after calls to donate formula were met with pleas not to.

Tweeted a Long Beach, Calif., doula and a Canadian breastfeeding activist respectively: “Please don’t send powdered formula to Haiti!” and “PLEASE! don’t send formula to Haiti! The women&children shouldn’t be victimised twice! Breastfeeding during emergencies is VITAL to health.”

Those donating formula want, of course, to get babies fed. The no-formula crowd argue breast is best — and also, there’s no reliably clean water with which to make the formula, clean the bottles, etc.

Clark-Flory tore into the research and eventually called UNICEF and here is what she concluded: not every kid will have access to a lactating woman, be it the child’s mother or someone acting as wet nurse. Those without access to breastmilk need formula — the ready-to-feed (super expensive!) kind.

But before you pack up a shipment, also note: distributors will want to know where it came from, that it’s safe, not expired, etc., etc., and as good as your intentions are to buy and send the stuff, it’s not the ideal way to help.

What is? Money. So that formula you wanted to send? Just take what you would have paid, add in the postage and donate the amount. Or double it and donate it. Everyone wants to help. Money helps the most.

Here are six ways to help.

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