January 25th, 2010 – A Call for Action

The Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), United States
Breastfeeding Committee (USBC), International Lactation Consultant Association/United States
Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA/USLCA), and La Leche League International (LLLI)
are jointly issuing an urgent call for human milk donations for premature infants in Haiti, as well
as sick and premature infants in the United States.

This week the first shipment of human milk from mothers in the United States will be shipped to
the U.S. Navy Ship “Comfort” stationed outside Haiti. “Comfort” is currently set up with a
neonatal intensive care unit and medical personnel to provide urgent care to victims of the
earthquake. An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant stationed at the U.S. Navy
base in Bethesda, MD is assisting with providing breast pump equipment and supplies to the
“Comfort.” Dr. Erika Beard-Irvine, pediatric neonatologist, is on board the “Comfort” to
coordinate distribution of the milk to infants in need. HMBANA, USBC, ILCA/USLCA, and
LLL are responding to requests to provide milk for both premature infants and at-risk mothers
who have recently delivered babies on board the U.S.N.S. Comfort, but an urgent need exists for
additional donations.

At the current time, the infrastructure to deliver human milk on land to Haiti infants has not yet
been established. As soon as that infrastructure is in place, additional donations will be provided
to older infants.
Mothers who are willing to donate human milk should contact their regional Mothers’ Milk Bank

A list of regional milk banks is available at the HMBANA website at
Currently milk banks are already low on donor milk. New milk donations will be used for both
Haiti victims as well as to replenish donor supplies to continue to serve sick and premature
infants in the U.S. Donor milk provides unique protection for fragile preterm infants. Financial
donations are also strongly encouraged to allow HMBANA, a nonprofit organization, to continue
serving infants in need.

UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the Emergency Nutrition Network, and medical
professionals all recommend that breastfeeding and human milk be used for infants in disasters
or emergencies. Human milk is life-saving due to its disease prevention properties. It is safe,
clean, and does not depend on water which is often unavailable or contaminated in an
emergency. Relief workers, health care providers, and other volunteers are urged to provide
support for breastfeeding mothers to enable them to continue breastfeeding, and to assist
pregnant and postpartum women in initiating and sustaining breastfeeding.

For more information, contact HMBANA at 408-998-4550 or www.hmbana.org. Additional
information can be provided from the United States Breastfeeding Committee at 202-367-1132
(www.usbreastfeeding.org), ILCA/USLCA at 1-800-452-2478 (www.ilca.org or
www.uslca.org), or La Leche League at 847-519-7730 (www.llli.org).