Infant & Young Child Feeding in Emergencies

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In an emergency, breastfeeding is the most convenient and safest way to feed your baby — you can do it anywhere, you don’t need any special tools, and you don’t need to wash, boil, or sterilize anything. Stressful situations do not affect milk production and milk quality does not change due to feelings of anxiety, panic, or stress. A temporary slowdown in milk flow happens only in rare cases. Even parents whose diet is unbalanced or limited can still breastfeed normally and effectively.

If the parent cannot continue breastfeeding, the next best option is to hand express milk with clean hands and into a clean container and feed it to the baby with a cup or spoon. Abruptly stopping nursing may cause complications that hand expressing milk helps avoid.  Finally, if lactation or resuming lactation is not possible, the ready-made liquid formula packaged by the manufacturer is the safest option for babies 0 – 6 months. For more complete information in Ukrainian and Russian, including for older children and milk/formula preparation and storage guidelines, please refer to UNICEF’s guidelines as well as the additional resources linked below. 

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