Urgent Call for Human Milk Donations for Haiti Infants
Washington, DC--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) are jointly issuing an urgent call for human milk donations for premature infants in Haiti, as well as sick and premature infants in the United States.
This week the first shipment of human milk from mothers in the United States will be shipped to the U.S. Navy ship Comfort stationed outside Haiti. Comfort is currently set up with a neonatal intensive care unit and medical personnel to provide urgent care to victims of the earthquake. An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant stationed at the U.S. Navy base in Bethesda, MD is assisting with providing breast pump equipment and supplies to Comfort. Dr. Erika Beard-Irvine, pediatric neonatologist, is on board to coordinate distribution of the milk to infants in need. HMBANA, USBC, ILCA/USLCA, and LLLI are responding to requests to provide milk for both premature infants and at-risk mothers who have recently delivered babies on board the USNS Comfort, but an urgent need exists for additional donations.
At the current time, the infrastructure to deliver human milk to Haiti infants on land has not yet been established. As soon as that infrastructure is in place, additional donations will be provided to older infants.
Mothers who are willing to donate human milk should contact their regional Mothers' Milk Bank of HMBANA. A list of regional milk banks is available on the HMBANA Web site at (www.hmbana.org/index/locations).
Currently milk banks are already low on donor milk. New milk donations will be used for Haiti victims as well as to replenish donor supplies to continue to serve sick and premature infants in the United States. Donor milk provides unique protection for fragile preterm infants. Financial donations are also strongly encouraged to allow HMBANA, a nonprofit organization, to continue serving infants in need.
UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the Emergency Nutrition Network, and medical professionals all recommend that breastfeeding and human milk be used for infants in disasters or emergencies. Human milk is life-saving due to its disease prevention properties. It is safe, clean, and does not depend on water which is often unavailable or contaminated in an emergency. Relief workers, health care providers, and other volunteers are urged to provide support for breastfeeding mothers to enable them to continue breastfeeding, and to assist pregnant and postpartum women in initiating and sustaining breastfeeding.
For more information, contact HMBANA at 408-998-4550 (www.hmbana.org). Additional information can be provided from the United States Breastfeeding Committee at 202-367-1132 (www.usbreastfeeding.org), ILCA/USLCA at 800-452-2478 (www.ilca.org or www.uslca.org), or La Leche League at 847-519-7730 (www.llli.org).
United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC)
The United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) is an independent nonprofit coalition of 41 nationally influential professional, educational, and governmental organizations. Representing over half a million concerned professionals and the families they serve, USBC and its member organizations share a common mission to improve the Nation's health by working collaboratively to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding. For more information about USBC, visitwww.usbreastfeeding.org.
The USBC is an organization of organizations. Opinions expressed by USBC are not necessarily the position of all member organizations and opinions expressed by USBC member organization representatives are not necessarily the position of USBC.