Breastfeeding is the best choice during an emergency. It is sanitary, doesn’t require water or electricity and provides the perfect nutrition for your baby. Breast milk does not need to be mixed or warmed and contains antibodies that help fight infection. Even if you have discontinued breastfeeding, you may be able to start again; this is known as relactation.
If you are experiencing difficulty breastfeeding in the wake of a disaster, remember to:
Drink plenty of water. At least 8 to 12 (8 oz) glasses of water a day can prevent dehydration and maintain your milk supply.
Baby and you time. Find a quiet place to nurse and bond with your baby. Breastfeeding releases hormones that help lower stress levels in both mom and baby.
Skin to skin. Stress and anxiety can affect letdown. Holding baby close is soothing and can prompt the release of oxytocin, the hormone that initiates milk letdown.
Say yes. If friends and family offer to cook a meal or help with laundry, let them! Don’t try to overdo it.
Stay the course. Try to avoid supplementing with infant formula. As long as you stay on a consistent breastfeeding routine, your body will produce the milk your baby needs.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Woman’s offers breastfeeding support groups and a Warmline (225-924-8239) that provides free lactation phone consultations and troubleshooting advice from a registered nurse. To join our Breastfeeding Support Group, click here or call 225-231-5475.