A Plea from Ukrainian Breastfeeding Consultants.
The situation in Ukraine is dire. Young children & babies need our protection to survive this war. This is a message about FEEDING INFANTS during an EMERGENCY.
Ukraine is now a warzone. Conditions in the country and for refugees resemble the worst possible circumstances for life. There is little to no electricity, no access to hot water, and clean water will be harder and harder to find. Mothers need a long-term solution because we don’t know how long these conditions will last.
Humanitarian aid is starting to arrive. This includes powder formula.
AT THIS TIME, formula is DANGEROUS to the lives of young children & babies.
Here is why:
Formula preparation REQUIRES mixing powder + clean boiled water. There is NO ELECTRICITY, boiled or clean water. It is impossible to properly prepare formula or properly clean bottles + nipples. Without sterilization we risk baby’s health.
Mothers in warzones live with constant anxiety + stress. They take formula “just in case”, even if breastfeeding. Mothers – even in peace times – worry about milk supply. With heightened stress, mothers will begin supplementing their babies. Breastfeeding will decrease and reliance on formula will increase. Mothers may lose their supply.
Nobody knows how long Formula Donations will continue. Mothers in Ukraine are in bomb shelters for many hours, access to stores and donations is limited and not always possible.
As formula becomes less accessible, mothers will dilute the powder more + more. This means baby will not get the proper nutrition.
Formula donations are fueled by Formula companies trying to market their products during an emergency.
This is about feeding babies in war conditions.
We stress, breastfeeding is the NORM in Ukraine. Now is the time we continue supporting breastfeeding mothers. Through breastfeeding, we maintain the health of our babies for however long we have to. Breastfeeding offers the BEST possible, guaranteed nutrition for babies & kids.
There are MANY trained breastfeeding consultants in Ukraine. We are ALREADY helping mothers in Ukraine.
Providing free online consultations
EDUCATING mothers on maintaining milk production + supply
Helping mothers learn strategies for relactation
Created a forum for MILK SHARING, connecting mothers to each other for donating milk or wet nursing. This is the safest way for babies to get the nutrition they need during war.
What do mothers in Ukraine NEED?
Mothers + babies need to stay warm. Donate clothes, blankets.
Send medical supplies.
Promote mothers uniting together.
Please remember, formula donations will ultimately undermine breastfeeding and in the long-term create poor nutritional outcomes.
Read UNICEF statement on this similar message.
Help continue our TIRELESS, CONTINUOUS work protecting & supporting breastfeeding women. They are raising the future of Ukraine.
Ksenya Solovey, breastfeeding consultant, Kiev
translated by Maya Bolman, IBCLC USA