Prepared: Infant Feeding Through Natural Disasters

Infant feeding in natural disasters plan

Have you thought about preparing for the unthinkable?

Many of us never think about what we would do if we suddenly had no running water to clean and sanitize our pump parts and feeding supplies. Or if we had no access to clean drinking water to help maintain a hydration level that supports healthy milk supply.

The added stress of a natural disaster can take its toll on our ability to produce milk. Have you ever thought about the many ways that being without power complicates something as seemingly simple as feeding our babies?

So, let’s talk a little about preparation, and about what you can do now to be more prepared for these emergency situations in the future.

A good rule of thumb is to have 3 days worth of supplies stored away. There are some great lists out there for general preparedness (check your state department for lists most applicable to your part of the country). However, there is a lack of cohesive information with regard to infant feeding, hence the reason for this article.

Here are our recommendations for various emergency scenarios, as they relate to effectively pumping, breastfeeding, or combination feeding:


Create an Emergency Breastfeeding/Pumping Kit

Don’t get caught completely off guard by an unforeseen emergency situation! Whether it’s a short loss of power due to a thunderstorm, or a days-long loss of water or electricity due to a larger natural disaster, these supplies can help get you through with minimal disruption to your feeding routine.

Supplies List:

Some Emergency Scenarios and how these products can be useful:

Loss of Electricity:

A manual pump like the Medela Harmony can be a lifesaver, and a fantastic accessory to have on hand. Hand pumps are usually small, inexpensive, and portable, which makes them useful for travel as well as emergency scenarios from power outages to electric pump malfunctions! Some electric pumps have the ability to be converted to manual mode and used by hand, using a Breast Pump Switch Kit. Check your pump’s user manual to see if your pump can do this, then print out the instructions so that you have them handy if needed.

Learning and practicing effective hand expression techniques can also bring a lot of peace of mind for periods of time when you may be unable to access your pump. [Learn about hand expression here.]

Learn about options for using alternative sources to power your pump. Does your pump manufacturer make a vehicle adapter that lets you use your pump with your vehicle’s power? Can your pump run on batteries when not plugged in? If neither of these options is available to you with your pump, consider a vehicle power inverter that converts your vehicle’s power source into an outlet to plug in and power your breast pump and other devices.

Need to boil water for sterilizing bottles and pump parts? An outdoor grill or portable camping grill can help you!

For more on dealing with power outages and your stored milk, see our article: Power Outages and Frozen Breast Milk

Questions? Please feel free to reach out! Call or text us at 512-765-9959, email
[email protected], or DM on our social media channels. We are here for you!

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***The information provided on our website is intended solely for general educational and informational purposes only. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician for any questions you may have regarding your or your child’s medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have received in this information.***