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Infant Feeding in Emergencies

(PR.co.nz) The Ministry of Health has released guidance on infant feeding during emergencies for parents and caregivers.

Dr Pat Tuohy, the Ministry’s Chief Advisor on child and youth health, says that “breastfeeding is still the best and safest means of providing food for infants. However, not everyone is able to and therefore access to infant formula, clean water and sterilised bottles becomes important.”

The welfare centres set up in Christchurch following last Tuesday’s earthquake have access to infant formula and safe drinking water. Parents and caregivers who have no supplies of safe water at home to prepare powdered formula can seek assistance from any of the welfare centres. Most supermarkets and pharmacies in Christchurch should also have stocks of infant formula available.

To ensure babies receive only the safest fluids during emergencies, the Ministry of Health recommends that:

* the only fluids that should be given to babies aged less than 12 months are: breastmilk, for babies who are not fully breastfed, infant formula, and/or safe water (sealed bottled water or water boiled for at least three minutes then cooled)
* solids should not be given to babies unless they have already started eating solid foods (babies around six months or older)
* cow’s milk should not be given as a drink to babies aged less than 12 months.

Further advice is available through PlunketLine (0800 933 922) and Healthline (0800 611 116).

Media Release 25 February 2011 from Ministry of Health.

 



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