I have heard about donations of breast pumps being made to be distributed to people affected by the emergency in Houston. Both Ameda and Evenflo have made donations and individuals (including IBCLCs) and breastfeeding organisations have solicited donations of breast pumps.
Breast pumps are difficult to clean well. This is something well known by those involved in milk banking as bacterial contamination levels are higher in pumped milk as compared to hand expressed milk. In an emergency, cleaning feeding equipment is difficult and it is for this reason that use of baby bottles is discouraged. However, breast pumps are just as, if not more, dangerous than baby bottles in emergencies because of the difficulty of cleaning them.
Donations of breast pumps should not be solicited in emergencies and breast pumps should not be distributed except in situations where there is easy access to an unlimited supply of hot water for washing. This condition is unlikely to be met in evacuation centres.
The new version of the Operational Guidance on Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies is due to be released imminently; it reflects the information shared above.
Please share this information through your networks.
KARLEEN GRIBBLE BRurSc PhD
Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Nursing and Midwifery
WESTERN SYDNEY UNIVERSITY