Thursday, March 17, 2011

Red Cross #FAIL

Every time there is a natural disaster, breastfeeding advocates will step up to remind everyone how important it is to protect breastfeeding in order to save lives. Inevitably lots and lots of formula donations will roll in and it always causes problems. We saw it after the tsunami in 2004, when breastfeeding rates plummeted and young children died of diarrhea. The same thing happened after the floods in Pakistan, and formula donations to Haiti after the earthquake contributed to infant and child death, especially after the cholera outbreak.

And yet this is the image the Red Cross has decided to use to garner donations for Japan?

I guess they assume the image of an infant being bottle-fed will tug on the heartstrings? I do understand that there are some babies whose mothers may be dead or missing or were already bottle-feeding (although most women breastfeed in Japan), but this image is inappropriate. This reinforces the myth that breastfeeding is not sustainable during disaster and encourages formula donations when the emphasis should be on protecting breastfeeding. I can't believe the Red Cross doesn't know better.

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