URGENT CALL FOR HUMAN MILK DONATIONS FOR HAITI INFANTS
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 the "Comfort." Dr. Erika Beard-Irvine, pediatric
neonatologist, is on board the "Comfort" to coordinate distribution of the
milk to infants in need. HMBANA, USBC, ILCA/USLCA, and LLL are responding to
requests to provide milk for both premature infants and at-risk mothers who
have recently delivered babies on board the U.S.N.S. Comfort, but an urgent
need exists for additional donations.
At the current time, the infrastructure to deliver human milk on land to
Haiti infants 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 at
the HMBANA website at www.hmbana.org.
Currently milk banks are already low on donor milk. New milk donations will
be used for both Haiti victims as well as to replenish donor supplies to
continue to serve sick and premature infants in the U.S. 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
For more information, contact HMBANA at 408-998-4550 408-998-4550 or www.hmbana.org
Additional information can be provided from the United States Breastfeeding
Committee at 202-367-1132 202-367-1132 (www.usbreastfeeding
ILCA/USLCA at 1-800-452-2478 1-800-452-2478
(www.ilca.org or www.uslca.org ),
or La Leche League at 847-519-7730 847-519-7730
Angela Smith, President
ILCA Board of Directors