UK lactivists officially lose their minds

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Imagine a natural disaster: flood, fire, hurricane, blizzard. Or, if you prefer, imagine a manmade disaster: a terrorist attack, a power grid failure, a nuclear explosion deliberate or accidental. Imagine the death, injury, destruction, fear and misery.

What would be your first priority if you were caring for those people? It wouldn’t be promoting breastfeeding, unless you were mad as a March hare — or a UK lactivist.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Disaster planning for lactivists: prevent formula donations.[/pullquote]

Breastfeeding Trends UK just released a position paper entitled Protecting Babies in Emergencies. The ugly truth, however, is it is NOT about protecting babies; it’s about protecting breastfeeding.

UK lactivists are forever bemoaning the “dismal” state of breastfeeding in the UK, as if that has anything to do with infant health. As they never tire of telling us, less than 0.5% of UK babies are breastfed to a year of age. Nonetheless, the UK infant mortality rate is 3.6/1000, the lowest ever for the UK and among the lowest in the world.

Since — as they never stop lamenting — the UK breastfeeding rate is very low, you might think that a document that focused on protecting babies in the event of a disaster would focus on making sure that there is an adequate supply of formula and clean water with which to prepare it. You would be wrong. In a 1250 word document, only two sentences are devoted the vast majority of babies who might be affected:

Babies who are fully or partially formula fed are at risk if their caregivers lose access to clean water, are unable to sterilise feeding equipment or suffer disruption or contamination of their formula milk supplies. A suitable environment for preparation and storage of feeds, sterilising equipment, boiling water and safe storage such as a refrigerator, are all needed to prevent bacterial contamination.

The bulk of the position paper — I’m not making this up — is devoted to preventing worldwide donations of formula!

In the absence of guidance, agencies responsible for co-ordinating emergency response and volunteers working on the front line are often not aware that donations of formula milk can put babies at risk. Risks from donated formula milk include inadvertently distributing products that are unsuitable for babies under six months or for babies with special nutritional needs, as well as distributing milk that is contaminated or out-of-date.

Because in the wake of a nuclear holocaust when babies are dying in droves the last thing we should countenance is using formula after the sell by date.

What do these lactivists fools imagine will happen if there are no formula donations? Potentially tens of thousands of babies might die but apparently they’re expendable because they’re formula fed.

Lactivists, as always, are only concerned with promoting breastfeeding, not saving lives. They’re honest about their real anxiety:

There is also a risk that donations will be inappropriately provided to parents of breastfed babies, which can undermine the protective effect of breastfeeding and cause parents to become dependent on a continued supply of formula milk.

Sure, when formula fed babies are dying from lack of formula, and their mothers are rioting for lack of formula, aid workers will be spending their time searching for the tiny minority of breastfeeding women so they can tempt them away from breastfeeding with free formula. UK lactivists have officially lost their minds.

And what do these geniuses propose to do for breastfed babies whose mothers die during the natural disaster. Evidently it never occurs to them that a lactating mother can be injured or killed, cutting off her infant’s supply of food. Maybe they think “magical” benefits extend to preventing deaths of breastfeeding mothers. Or maybe they think once a breastfed baby is no longer breastfeeding, they’re expendable, too.

Their “guidance” in the event of a disaster is not focused on saving babies; it’s focused on saving breastfeeding … and employing lactation consultants:

…If breastfeeding helpers are not pre-authorised as part of planned disaster response the immediate help that families need can be delayed.

It gets worse:

  • …Local emergency planning should have identified appropriate infant feeding support from local health and voluntary services. There are telephone helplines which support caregivers with all aspects of infant feeding:NCT helpline (0300 330 0700)
    The Breastfeeding Helpline (0300 100 0212).
  • DO encourage donations of money to recognised agencies so that parents, caregivers and agencies can buy any formula or supplies needed, rather than donations of formula products…
  • DO ensure that formula milk is purchased and distributed only for babies who need formula milk, following basic screening of families …
  • DO NOT distribute formula milk in an untargeted way.

Do these women even hear themselves?

Basic human ethics demands that we try to save the majority of babies LIVES. In a country where very few women breastfeed that means maintaining a large and ongoing supply of formula and clean water to prepare it. Whatever way that can be accomplished most effectively in the wake of a disaster — and formula donations may be an effective way of accomplishing it — should be undertaken.

Anyone who stands in the way of making sure that as many babies as possible are fed, regardless of how they are fed, is deluded at best and monstrously self absorbed at worst.

Because the incontrovertible truth, especially during a disaster, is Fed Is Best!

124 Responses to “UK lactivists officially lose their minds”

  1. The Bofa on the Sofa
    July 14, 2017 at 3:25 pm #

    “In the case of sudden loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will fall from the compartment above you. If you are with a child or someone who needs assistance, put your mask on first. If you are breastfeeding, put the mask on your child and breastfeed them first before putting your own on. You don’t want the change in composition of the air you are breathing to change your breastmilk because that might ruin your child’s microbiome if we survive the imminent planecrash.”

  2. Olivia Crocker
    July 14, 2017 at 12:06 pm #

    I felt compelled to post here because I think there needs to be an alternative view point given. I can see why it’s really easy to point the finger and blame the notion that breastfeeding is seen as superior to formula – this ISN’T what it’s about and to say it is really misses the point. We know that formula is not sterile, hence it needs to be prepared using sterile bottles, teats and water that has been boiled to prevent the growth of bacteria that can lead to harmful infections in babies. Yes in developed countries formula-fed babies do thrive. In emergency/disaster situations, or refugee camps many women lack access to enough clean water, adequate equipment to sterilise bottles and teats, and have even ended up sharing one bottle and teat between numerous infants. The other issue is that when formula becomes scarce, it starts to become diluted down with more water – so the baby is actually not given enough nutrition. So what happens when formula donations start coming in? It is such a well known fact that breastfeeding helps prevent infections that formula fed babies are more prone to which is crucial for infants living in such challenging conditions. In situations where a woman cannot breastfeed of course the baby should be given formula – there is no doubt about this. But that isn’t what this is about – it’s about providing necessary breastfeeding support to help a woman continue breastfeeding her infant as oppose to just plying her with formula as a solution. And I’m not talking about letting a baby starve here. Of course there is no hierarchy between breastfed and formula fed babies. Oh and the reason the breastfeeding rate in the UK is so low is because the support here is terrible – so yes support does matter.

    • LaMont
      July 14, 2017 at 12:26 pm #

      A few issues: if you ban formula donations, the kids don’t get fed *at all*. Donations of food are often hard to distribute, that doesn’t mean that you should ban food, especially food that has a good shelf life. Also, do you have evidence that women are stopping breastfeeding when they desperately want to continue but lack “support”? Do you know what the reasons really *are* behind women stopping breastfeeding? And how do you define support? If it’s just “severe admonishment against formula,” that’s not actual support *for* breastfeeding btw. Someone saying “hey formula isn’t terrible” is not a failure to support breastfeeding. Also, show #s that formula fed babies get more infections than breastfed babies in otherwise similar conditions, because that is not in fact common knowledge, or true.

    • Young CC Prof
      July 14, 2017 at 1:15 pm #

      Let’s say part of the UK is hit by a disaster so severe that basic hygiene becomes a challenge for a period of several days or even longer. What, then, do you do with the MANY babies who are already formula-fed? Their mothers might try to relactate or find a wet nurse, but that certainly isn’t going to cover all of them.

      Instead, you make them a priority for safe water supplies, you get them formula, if possible you teach cup feeding, which is safer than bottle-feeding when hygiene is a challenge, and you keep those babies alive.

      Mothers who are breastfeeding successfully are obviously going to place a very high priority on continuing the nursing relationship if they suddenly find themselves in a disaster zone. They don’t need to be “supported” in giving their baby what’s now the only really reliable food source, they aren’t idiots. The only things that might threaten those nursing relationships are mother and baby becoming separated in the disaster, or one or the other getting seriously sick or hurt, in which case baby must have another food source.

      Common sense. No one is going to rip nursing babies from the breast and shove bottles in their mouths just because there was an earthquake, and we don’t need policy statements to not do that.

      • Olivia Crocker
        July 14, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

        Of course not. But a couple of factors need to be taken into account, some of which are culturally specific. For example when women come from middle eastern countries to European ones and the prevailing attitude is that formula is more trusted then breastfeeding than many women do switch and actually need a lot of support breastfeeding – even things like not having a private or comfortable place to breastfeed can play a huge factor in continuin/ending bf. Have you ever read about the work of Nurture Priojext International who are based in the Greek refugee camps? These are exactly some of the challenges they are trying to tackle. I totally agree with what you are saying about prioritising clean water and teaching cup feeding – that is another thing they have been doing. The issue with formula donations is that it IS dangerous when unregulated, I.e when tins of formula past their use by date are being offered out like any other food/supplies without conscious consideration of its implications. Formula fed babies clearly need protecting too – so actually formula donations need to be regulated and handed out by those trained and understanding of it..Baby Milk Action makes some good points about this. So we do need policies around who donates formula and how it is handed out.

        • swbarnes2
          July 14, 2017 at 1:33 pm #

          Anything can be given out past its expiration date. No one says “Don’t donate medicine because it might expire”.

          I’m sorry, it doesn’t take training to look at a package of formula and read details like the expiration date.

          Formula is food. It doesn’t have the earth-shattering implications you seem to think it has. If a family thinks that formula feeding is best for them in an emergency, why is some stranger going to know better?

          • Azuran
            July 14, 2017 at 2:41 pm #

            Seriously, if anything, it would make sense for every family with a still breastfeeding or formula fed baby to have a few days worth of RTF formula with their emergency supplies.

        • LaMont
          July 14, 2017 at 1:51 pm #

          Can you demonstrate actual differences in “danger” between regular food, which can spoil/contain allergens/require labeling, and formula?

        • Roadstergal
          July 14, 2017 at 2:28 pm #

          You can give out any food past its expiration date. Why single out formula?

          Anything that makes life less safe for formula fed babies makes life less safe for everyone, including breastfed babies. That’s why the infant mortality in countries where it’s Breastfeed Or Die is so high.

          In the US, we had a crisis of poor water very recently. All of the breastfeeding support in the world didn’t sop the lead out of Flint women’s bodies and their milk. The emergency didn’t call for breastfeeding support, it called for rapid action to make the water clean again. Which is still, shamefully, pending – but the plumbers who volunteered their time to install filters on taps helped babies – and children, and adults – more than any amount of breastfeeding support.

          • Charybdis
            July 14, 2017 at 3:03 pm #

            It’s the same sort of concern trolling that affects abortion providers. “The hallways have to be exactly XXX feet wide (or wider) for safety reasons”. It is to make sure a gurney or similar can make it down the hallway with no impediment. Never mind the fact that the building may have XXX- feet- minus- 1- inch wide hallways that allow for gurneys, medical personnel and equipment to pass unobstructed. You don’t meet the new regulation for hallway width, so you must shut down, remodel your facility or move to a compliant facility. What? One doesn’t exist in your area and you can’t afford to remodel? *Sad face*. Then, I’m sorry. You can no longer practice. It is for EVERYONE’S safety that we have these new rules and if you can’t comply with the regs, then no business for you!
            The lactivists are claiming to be concerned for the safety of all babies in a disaster and providing formula as an emergency ration for babies is just SO unsafe! Bottles and nipples need to be sterilized, the water must be boiled…it’s too much of a hassle for disaster victims. As long as the formula is made with bottled water in a clean bottle with clean nipple or disposable nipple, it is a safe food source for a baby. But let’s concern troll over the thought that formula might be offered that is past it’s expiration date and that clean, bottled water may not be readily available to mix it. Never mind there is RTF formula that can be used for bottle feeding or cup feeding or whatever. Even if it is diluted somewhat for a short time (couple of days, say), it is certainly better than letting the baby go hungry/get dehydrated because mom’s milk supply has tanked due to stress and dehydration, or mom is ill, injured or dead and CAN’T nurse.

          • September 12, 2019 at 6:40 pm #

            I am in total agreement with Dr. Amy’s stance against lactivist bullying and how the benefits of breastfeeding are overstated, but I have to (probably naively) ask – wouldn’t formula-fed babies in Flint be in at least as much, if not more, danger than breastfed babies because the water the formula was mixed with was not safe? I thought that is why formula-feeding is considered less safe in the developing world.

        • Amazed
          July 14, 2017 at 3:15 pm #

          “Formula fed babies clearly need protecting too – so actually formula
          donations need to be regulated and handed out by those trained and
          understanding of it.”

          I notice that you won’t put breastfeeding support under the same scrutiny. Today, we have a lactation consultant named Jen Hocking who thinks it’s totally OK to let babies go hungry until their mother’s milk come and decries reality – “hungry” and “starving” – as emotive language. Do you not think that the fact women like her are allowed to provide breastfeeding advice is troubling? Doesn’t she put breastfed babies in danger? At least with formula you can see its expiration date and how it is prepared. It isn’t rocket science. I learned it in about 2 minutes with my niece. I also learned how to feed her frozen breastmilk. No rocket science either. It’s there, it’s clearly written and the chance I’ll do something wrong is minimal. When women like Jen are allowed to provide breastfeeding support, it easily comes to outright lies “Oh your baby isn’t hungry! Just one bottle of formula will ruin the breastfeeding relationship forever!” Do you wish to protect breastfed babies?

          You’re also putting forth a false premise. What do women coming from other countries have to do with the situation when disaster strikes? It’s dishonest to compare breastfeeding inconveniences – while conviniently omitting the way formula feeding mothers are harrassed – to the situation of a disaster. You have never seen a true disaster, have you?

          At the end: breastfed babies will fare better than formula fed ones under similar conditions? I call bull. My brother is a Chernobyl baby. He was two months old and lying in his crib at the terrace while all around, the radioactive rain was pouring down. No one told the population that we shouldn’t eat fresh produce. No one told nursing mothers to find another source of food for their babies. Not formula – at the time, it was equal to demand Zeus’ nectar. But powdered milk. Anything but the milk from mothers eating radioactive food. Years later, he became the first child in our city to come down with a dangerous ailment that usually comes with old age. There were other children after him. All born around this time. All breastfed. He’s fine now, thank God, but I really think breastfeeding did nothing to help him. I dearly wish he had received formula packaged before 26th April.

          • BeatriceC
            July 14, 2017 at 3:19 pm #

            Upvoted, but I didn’t know that about your brother. Makes my disaster experience pale in comparison. I’m glad he’s okay now. That whole situation was just tragic to the point where words really don’t do justice to the horribleness.

          • Amazed
            July 14, 2017 at 3:35 pm #

            Thank you. We actually had a hospital here in the capital meant for children with some deformity of the diaphragma or something, I am not quite sure since he wasn’t one of them. All of these children were born around Chernobyl. What makes me most furious is the fact that there was no reason for this to happen. We were one of the countries most affected by Chernobyl when, in fact, the physical aspect should have been almost negligible? The government should have told the people not to leave their homes, not to eat fresh produce, not to let their cattle eat grass. Instead, they herded them out on a 1st May manifestation under the rain while they had mineral water from Argentina and all their food delivered by plane. Fuck them.

            On the other hand, he’s fine now. Human body is capable of doing amazing things indeed – it’s just that it shouldn’t be put in position to do them when preventable. In the beginning, they couldn’t diagnose him. They were going to do surgery for appendicitis when he had a case of acute pancreatitis. Actually, a friend of my mom, a pharmacy lady, saved him. She took temperature and rectal temperature and told Mom it wasn’t appendicitis. Of course, she didn’t know what it was. Mom refused to let them do the surgery. A national consultation was made and the diagnosis made. They told her he would die for sure. He didn’t. They told her that although he’d clearly survive (later, of course), he’d have a diabetes. He doesn’t. When he was 15, the same scenario repeated, only with his results being 40 times over the norm. They actually didn’t dare write them down. Recently, he was to a doctor for an unrelated problem. The man looked at him and asked, “Why don’t you have diabetes? Are you sure you don’t?” Well, he doesn’. Thank God.

            Sorry about the novel. It just makes me so enraged still to think about it. And the whole breastfeeding protection line is so stupid. Breastfeeding didn’t protect him. Formula with good water would have been better. Likely, it wouldn’t have prevented the illness… but breastfeeding offered NO protection. It increased the danger.

          • BeatriceC
            July 14, 2017 at 3:59 pm #

            No worries about the novel. I have my own upthread just a bit.

        • Sarah
          July 14, 2017 at 3:15 pm #

          Who is ‘we’? This is an article about the development of a strategy in the UK, not in Greek refugee camps. We certainly do need to consider culturally specific matters here, and chief amongst them is the fact that when disasters happen in the UK, they’re of the Grenfell tower variety rather than the sort of situation where there actually is an argument for a breastfeeding protection strategy.

          • maidmarian555
            July 14, 2017 at 4:28 pm #

            I strongly suspect, given the timing of this piece (and the fact there’s a photo of donations from ‘London, June 2017’ in the article Dr T is taking about) that what’s happened is some lunatic has watched the horror unfold in the aftermath of the Grenfell tragedy, seen the huge piles of donations made and then panicked that SOMEBODY MIGHT HAVE DONATED FORMULA!! Which, obviously, is not a totally fucking insane response to that hideous situation at all. Worrying about whether breastfeeding mothers living in the tower managed to get access to lactation consultants after their homes had burned down and their friends had been killed is utterly bizarre. Not to mention thoroughly distasteful and disrespectful. I think those people have been through enough without these cretins using their loss as some kind of twisted inspiration to write idiotic articles claiming that the WORST thing you can do in a disaster scenario is to donate formula. Never mind the babies that might need it. Of all the tone-deaf, middle class, out-of-touch bullshit they could have come up with, I don’t think it’s actually possible they could have responded in a less appropriate way. They’ve been at least self-aware enough to not mention Grenfell directly but it’s pretty clear where they’ve got the idea for this piece from.

        • maidmarian555
          July 14, 2017 at 6:22 pm #

          Sorry, are you attempting to suggest that parents who feed their babies formula are so stupid and ill-informed that they should only receive formula in an emergency situation if it’s dispensation is supervised by formula experts? Who are these ‘trained experts’ that you’re planning on wheeling out in case of a national emergency? How many thousands of them do we need to have trained and ready in order to cover the whole country? Where are they? What criteria do you have to meet in order to be allowed to dispense formula? Do you have any awareness of how ridiculous that sounds?

      • September 12, 2019 at 6:36 pm #

        The ironic thing is, I suppose the difficulty of obtaining formula and clean water for it in a disaster could be a “benefit” to breastfeeding that the lactivists desperately searching for one could use. That’s where I thought this was going, and in areas prone to disasters that might actually make some sense – that women who are already breastfeeding their babies would not have to worry about finding formula and getting clean water for it. IDK if it’s by itself a great reason to breastfeed, but hey, I think I might have actually found a potential benefit not based on pseudoscience! But instead of pointing that out, these people are concerned that distributing formula, which is probably in very high demand by non-breastfeeding families in the event of a disaster, could interfere with breastfeeding? Unbelievable.

    • BeatriceC
      July 14, 2017 at 2:30 pm #

      Have you ever lived in a disaster zone? Are you familiar with the very real struggles for simple survival that happen even in a developed country after a catastrophic event? As I mentioned a few days ago, I have. This is one of those situations where you sound like an absolute moron, because the disconnect between what you are saying and the reality of an actual, large-scale disaster are so far apart it would be comical if actual lives weren’t at stake here.

      Take a look at this link: . The article is crap, but I’m adding just for the slideshow of photographs at the bottom. Take your time and really look at all 79 pictures. Well, the last two aren’t as important. They’re “20 years later” pictures. So look at the first 77. Look close. My grandmother’s actual house is on one of those pictures. My house was slightly west of where most of the pictures were taken, but looked pretty much like all the other brick and mortar houses in the pictures. Also, the worst of the damage wasn’t even showing in this particular slideshow. There’s some aerial shots of the Lakes by the Bay neighborhood, that I can’t find right now, that look just as bad as the trailer park photos, and those were brick and mortar built houses, not trailers. That tent city in Homestead? I lived there for several weeks before I went back to school that year (I went to a boarding school, and it was my Sr. year of high school).

      Now that you’ve seen those pictures, let me describe to you what life was like under those conditions. Life for the first few days was all about survival. That tent city was actually a massive improvement over the conditions before they were built. My house was completely destroyed. Only the outside walls remained. There was no power, no running water, and more importantly, no source of fresh water. Also, the plumbing was breeched, so we couldn’t even use the toilets and use non-potable water to flush human waste. We had to use buckets. It was gross. Showers were a luxury we could only dream about. The heat was brutal. It was August in South Florida. Since there was no roof, there was nowhere to go to get a break from the sun. We had a pool, and the standing water started creating a health problem almost immediately, as the rain from the hurricane decreased the concentration of the pool chemicals designed to prevent algae growth. Also, the debris in the pool made it impossible to add chemicals, even if there were some available (there weren’t…they were blown away, quite literally). We also had very little emergency supplies. My parents were responsible people and had a large emergency supply kit. Unfortunately, sometime during the storm, the wind knocked a huge hole in the roof of the house, blew out the windows, and picked those supplies up and blew them to who knows where. So we were left with about five gallons of water and some canned goods odds and ends, plus one tank of propane for a family of 6 until rescue crews could get to us. That took three days. We couldn’t easily leave the property because debris was blocking the routes out, and in the end, heavy equipment was necessary to clear it. We older kids wound up walking several miles each day, during daylight only (curfew) to get necessary supplies for the day.

      Now, read some of these things again. Five gallons of water for six people for three days, in the brutal August South Florida heat, with nowhere to go to get relief from the sun. Do you think we were worried about sanitation? Hell no. We were worried about simply surviving. We had to urinate and defecate in a communal five gallon bucket. And we had no way to wash our hands after we were done. Do you think even a breastfeeding mother’s nipples would be sanitary, let alone sterile, under these conditions? No. They wouldn’t be. So why are you all concerned with non-sterile bottles and nipples? Under these conditions “clean” is a luxury, and I can guarantee you that a breastfeeding mother’s breasts are far from clean.

      There’s so much more I could talk about. Pads and tampons? They weren’t available for several weeks. Half the looting done by residents were to get necessary supplies. Women used disposable diapers and dirty rags to absorb menstrual flow. People who lived in neighborhoods like my grandmother had decent food for the first day or two because people would throw block parties (of sorts) to cook what meat was in their freezers (if they were still in the house…somebody’s full sized refrigerator/freezer got picked up and slammed through the roof of my grandmother’s house…no idea who’s it was…nobody claimed it). If it didn’t get cooked and eaten right away it would have gone bad. So the people who still had a working grill fired them up and whole neighborhoods came together to cook the perishables. After the second day, they were back to scarce commodities. On that note, one good thing is that this lasted so long that even after we had a decent supply of food and ice, cooking was a challenge, so we used the grill a lot. I can cook damned near anything, including cakes and cookies, on/in a grill, but I digress.

      This post would be novel length if I described everything. I’m going to leave it at this for now, and reiterate what I said in the beginning. The authors of this so-called “emergency plan”, and you, for defending it, sound like two year olds trying to play grown up to the ears of a person who’s actually lived in a disaster zone. It’s not relevant, and it’s indefensible.

      • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
        July 14, 2017 at 4:26 pm #

        Thank you, I think people who have never actually been through a disaster, and who live in first world nations really don’t have any idea what life on the groud is like during the first days after a large disaster. I lived in Guam for a couple typhoons and one earthqake, LA for the North ridge quake and in coastal New England during Irene, Sandy and a couple of winter blizzards. Summer disasters were always worse, if your house flooded and you lost power everything got ruined by the damp/mold/etc, no way to flush the toilets if you were luck enough to have an undamaged house with a toilet, no hot water or in some cases any way to heat or boil water. And if you did have an emergency kit you had to hope that a) it survived the disaster and b) it was in part of the house you could get to. If they evacuate you in a hurry you may not be given time to grab anything. Sometimes its good to keep a Go bag in the car. Also during the Homestead storm after math I remember people saying it was difficult to find anything because all the street signs and land marks were gone…

        • BeatriceC
          July 14, 2017 at 5:16 pm #

          The landmarks and signs being down were secondary to the fact that there were pretty much no roads that were even passible for the first few days. That actually contributed to the length of time it took the national guard to get to us. If you notice in the pictures, people spray painted their address and their insurance company on the side of their house, if possible, and on a pice of plywood leaned up against rubble if not. Most people were able to get around because those addresses gave you all the information you needed about what street you were on and what the cross nearest cross street was. Miami is a grid system with the intersection of Miami Ave and Flagger street serving as the origin of the grid, and the designators NW, NE, SW, and SE serving as the four quadrants. But it took a while for enough people and businesses to spray paint their address to have enough to make navigating easy. Even natives like my mother, who was born in Miami and lived there almost all of her life, had some trouble in the first few days.

    • Azuran
      July 14, 2017 at 2:33 pm #

      So better to just let those babies starve? Better to have nothing to eat and drink than have watered down formula.

      You do realize that lactation doesn’t happen on demand right? In case of emergency, a mother can’t suddenly decide to breastfeed. Many breastfeeding mother could have a drop of their milk supply, be separated from their baby, die or be too injured to breastfeed.

      And why would donating formula would force breastfeeding mothers to stop breastfeeding? If my house burns down tomorrow I wouldn’t stop breastfeeding unless some kind of injury prevented me or my baby to do so. And some red cross worker asking me if I need formula wouldn’t change anything.

      Seriously, there has been a few small scale disasters around where I live, my mom, as a nurse, also worked in the shelters to help those who lost their houses. People are distraught because they lost their house, possibly their jobs, they are injured, their kids are injured, they haven’t been able to contact a family member to make sure they are safe, are saddened by the loss of all their physical possession, their memories, their papers etc. They need shelter, food, water, clothes, protection, medical care. I’ve never heard of anyone bemoaning the lack of lactation consultant and breastfeeding support while their cities where burning down or being flooded.

    • Sarah
      July 14, 2017 at 3:14 pm #

      You know one thing that isn’t a reason why breastfeeding rates in the UK are low? Lack of a breastfeeding protection strategy in emergencies.

    • Amazed
      July 14, 2017 at 3:50 pm #

      We know the alternative point by now, thankyouverymuch. Breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed! Never give a breastfeeding woman formula, lest she think it’s a solution! How dare she want to have ядпе available, just for her peace of mind that should bad become worse, her baby would not starve?

      Breastfeeding support! I can’t believe it. You want to have someone who might have just lost it all subjected to endless lectures of how she should just try harder, or croon her soothingly, “You’re a strong woman, mama!” when her mind is still reeling with the impact of all that had happened to her? Do you think refugee camps, since you’re so fond of this comparison, are like a LC comfortable little office where the worried well mothers come to be milked – pun intended – from their money in exchange of reassurance that they’re breastfeeding a bettered human?

      What kind of people ARE you? What kind of world do you LIVE in?

      • Sarah
        July 14, 2017 at 4:32 pm #

        One where placenta encapsulation is worth doing, apparently. For a cool £150. I’m in the wrong business!

      • Empress of the Iguana People
        July 14, 2017 at 4:40 pm #

        Milk’s not a solution, it’s a colloid!

  3. Roadstergal
    July 11, 2017 at 2:23 am #

    “breastfeeding helpers are not pre-authorised as part of planned disaster response the immediate help that families need can be delayed.”

    But, wait! NPR told me breastfeeding wisdom was passed down from magical grandmothers!

  4. fiftyfifty1
    July 10, 2017 at 8:08 pm #

    My goodness these women are pathetic. Fantasizing that their amazing lactation wisdom is going to save the day during a disaster. Who will be the next heroines of this fantasy disaster? Pilates instructors?

    • MaineJen
      July 10, 2017 at 8:20 pm #

      “Thank god for that Reiki practitioner! I thought we were goners!”

    • momofone
      July 11, 2017 at 8:42 am #

      But when would core strength be more important?!

      • fiftyfifty1
        July 12, 2017 at 11:03 am #

        Exactly! When they flee from the atomic bomb, they are getting plenty of cardio, sure, but what about the core?!

  5. MaineJen
    July 10, 2017 at 6:57 pm #

    “DO ensure that formula milk is purchased and distributed only for babies who need formula milk, following basic screening of families …”

    Yes, absolutely take the time to interview and browbeat each and every family who comes stumbling into your shelter with a crying, hungry baby. Do they *really* need this formula? Perhaps if they tried a bit harder to breastfeed…

    WTF, ladies? Give formula and clean water to each and every family who ask for it. JFC. This isn’t rocket science.

    • Merrie
      July 10, 2017 at 8:13 pm #

      Basic screening of families:
      “Hi, we need some formula for Baby.”
      “Okay, any particular kind that Baby usually gets?”

      Not really sure what would be relevant beyond that.

  6. Mark
    July 10, 2017 at 6:56 pm #

    Dr. Tuter

    Oh this is just too funny.

    Lord knows I needed a good laugh and smile. This is just absolutely hilarious.

    Having been at least superficially trained in emergency mgmt, this would be one of the farthest things from the logistical folks minds.

    Breast feeding? Sure go for it, what do you want or need from me?

    Make sure no one donates any formula or god forbid clean water.

    I’d go with the formula particularly if refrigeration was at a premium because power was out.

    I’d rather store things like blood or medicine that pumped breast milk, sorry.

  7. BeatriceC
    July 10, 2017 at 4:28 pm #

    I’ve lived in a disaster zone (Homestead, FL, 1992, Hurricane Andrew). This reads about as close to the reality of people who are in this situation as “50 Shades” is to actual BDSM. Since I was only 16 at the time I cannot comment on what the infant feeding needs were, but I can accurately relay what it’s like when you’ve suddenly lost basically everything and have no access to power, clean water, refrigeration, etc. In some cases even disaster supplies were blown away. It’s not fun, trust me.

    • July 10, 2017 at 5:15 pm #

      A nearby farm tractor driver took out a power line and we lost power out of nowhere. Spawn was still fairly oxygen dependent but we had enough pressurized oxygen tanks that he’d of been fine for about 2 weeks.

      The bigger problem that became clear immediately was that we had lost access to potable water to make formula and refrigeration to store two temperature sensitive medications. I had a stash of potable water that would last for a day or two for Spawn’s formula but we were looking at less than 12 hours before his meds were room-temperature.

      Thankfully, my parents live outside of the affected area so we packed up to go there. Once I had everything loaded except for the baby, I popped back in the house to grab him and the power turned back on.

      Needless to say, I’ve beefed up my disaster supplies again and am likely to be the first person on the way out if we have any possible disasters here in Michigan.

      • BeatriceC
        July 10, 2017 at 5:26 pm #

        One advantage of hurricanes is that you generally get days and days of warning to prepare or evacuate. Hurricane Andrew was weird, and it actually changed how hurricanes were reported on and how evacuations were done, at least in that area of Florida. For days those of us down in South Dade were prepared for a nasty storm, but just the edges at most. The storm was predicted to make landfall somewhere near the Dade/Broward county line. Then Andrew took an 11th hour jog to the south putting Homestead right in the crosshairs. That’s clear on the other side of the county. We had half a day to prepare for the worst, and some moron in Tallahassee didn’t lift the tolls on the Turnpike northbound until a local news anchor pitched a fit on air, so the traffic trying to get out was terrible. A lot of medically fragile people were in bad shape because evacuation became impossible at the end. Then it took three days before the first relief crews arrived in Homestead (they were centered farther north, in the Kendall/South Miami area at first, before anybody realized that the bastard step child of the county was even worse off). After the storm we joked around that we needed a continuous loop recording that just said “oh, shit, look at that”, because what else can you do in that situation?

        Anyway, after that storm the National Hurricane Center started putting out a larger area with probabilities rather than a forecasted path, though they didn’t refine it and come up with the “cone” that’s common now until after Hurricane Charlie some years later. And South Florida got a whole lot better at evacuating after analyzing the mistakes made in trying to evacuate pretty much all of Miami Dade county (and failing miserably).

        • Kerlyssa
          July 10, 2017 at 5:31 pm #

          huh, i didn’t realize the cone was not a thing. weird what you take for granted

          • BeatriceC
            July 10, 2017 at 5:41 pm #

            And now I feel old. *cries*

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            July 10, 2017 at 7:42 pm #

            Not so much old as more aware at an earlier age. I’m your age, and I don’t remember pre-cone forecasts, even though we got hit by Gloria when I was 9.

          • BeatriceC
            July 10, 2017 at 7:54 pm #

            True about awareness.

            Though I suppose those of us in Homestead, FL got a very intense lesson on why projected path forecasts weren’t reliable and why you should be prepared even if you’re in a low probability zone. I can’t think of any storm that veered of course quite as dramatically. That kind of thing would serve to make a very big impression in a teenager’s mind.

            Besides Andrew, I vaguely recall getting sideswiped by David when I was 4 and gearing up for, but not getting hit (other than a lot of rain and moderately heavy wind) by Elena when I was 8 (I think). Then there were the remnants of the first Irene when OK was a baby, and then Katrina/Rita/Wilma as they hit Homestead when all the kids were toddlers/preschoolers.

          • MI Dawn
            July 11, 2017 at 7:04 am #

            I didn’t live in hurricane parts of the country until the mid 1980s. And since (until Sandy) hurricanes never came near where I lived, I didn’t know all that information. Thanks, BeatriceC.

            (I happened to actually be away during Sandy, so I was only around for the aftermath 3 days later and onwards!)

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            July 11, 2017 at 8:15 am #

            Here in Ohio we got the remnants of Katrina too, blew over a bunch of trees, and Sandy had mated with some other storm. We had our first IVF appointment during it. That was a mite breezy.

        • July 11, 2017 at 12:02 pm #

          That makes a ton of sense. In Michigan, we always have some advanced warning of storms. Summer storms occasionally spawn tornadoes but thankfully most houses have basements here and fairly few trailer parks.

          The most damaging storms around here are ice-accumulation storms while the trees are leafed out. Pretty rare, but a huge mess when they happen. We had one that hit in the mid-fall about 20 years ago and it messed up the power grid badly because deciduous trees were falling or losing large limbs all over the place, knocking out power to random sections of neighborhoods and individual houses. It took weeks to get all of the power back on since it was damage at the most outlying areas in the powergrid.

      • Roadstergal
        July 11, 2017 at 2:26 am #

        We keep a big stash of water in the basement, changing it out every 6months. Also, a generator filled with gas and fuel stabilizer. (Earthquake country.) We do not keep a lactating woman next to them.

  8. Young CC Prof
    July 10, 2017 at 4:09 pm #

    And women who lose supply, temporarily or permanently, due to stress, disruption or dehydration? What are they supposed to do?

    • JDM
      July 10, 2017 at 4:33 pm #

      In another context, dealing with evolution, I had extensive online conversations with a guy who simply refused to understand that what you describe was even possible. That lack of understanding persisted despite my and others’ repeated explanations of the obvious. The non-understanding person was in the midst of a quest for a doctorate in human evolution at the time.

      People can be amazingly resistant to understanding some really simple and obvious facts.

      • MaineJen
        July 10, 2017 at 7:02 pm #

        My mother told us that she lost her milk when my younger brother (only a month or so old, at the time) became ill and was hospitalized. He would turn blue and start choking during feedings. It turned out to be something quite simple (his epiglottis did not close properly over his windpipe when feeding; he simply needed to be propped up during and after feedings and he eventually grew out of this problem), but until doctors figured it out, she was at her wits’ end.

        One kind doctor noticed her weeping over his bed one day, and when she tearfully told him that she wasn’t able to breastfeed any more, he said, “You know, you can give him formula. He’ll be just fine. That’s the last thing you should be worried about right now.”

      • Young CC Prof
        July 10, 2017 at 7:52 pm #

        People don’t believe that dehydration stops lactation? Well, it does, and it can happen in just a few hours under extreme conditions. Breast milk is mostly water, and the body can’t create water from nothing.

        Good news is, given water and a few hours of rest, milk will usually come back.

    • kilda
      July 10, 2017 at 5:03 pm #

      Some babies aren’t meant to live, remember? Better they die pure, with their virgin gut undefiled by formula. Like the story they told us once in Sunday School about the pious girl who got stabbed to death while resisting being raped. She was a hero, you see, because she died to protect her virtue. (yeah, Sunday School was a little effed up…)

    • Sarah
      July 11, 2017 at 2:48 am #

      Find a newly bereaved lactating mother and commandeer her tits.

      • Roadstergal
        July 12, 2017 at 3:45 am #

        Now I’m imagining Frank Drebin flashing his badge to do just that. “Police business!’

  9. July 10, 2017 at 3:59 pm #

    If you are a parent of a small child, ensuring that your emergency preparedness kit includes formula and what is needed to safely prepare and administer it is just good practice. Pretending that breastfeeding is what matters in that context is lunacy – survival matters.

    • Merrie
      July 10, 2017 at 8:16 pm #

      This is a really good point. We have a super half-assed emergency kit in the basement (water, propane, and I think a camp stove, and maybe a couple of other things). I plan to breastfeed this baby who is currently gestating, but I probably better buy some formula to put in the emergency kit just in case! If I continue to breastfeed I’ll keep an eye on its expiration date and donate it before it expires.

      • Young CC Prof
        July 10, 2017 at 8:24 pm #

        Definitely have some on hand. Easiest solution, if you aren’t planning to use much, is to pick up a 6-pack of ready-to-feed bottles from the grocery store, along with a screw-on nipple. No refrigeration or cleaning equipment necessary, good for any disaster from a hurricane to you suddenly getting too sick to nurse.

        And if you don’t use it, you can always make baby cereal with it when baby starts eating.

        • July 11, 2017 at 2:00 am #

          Good for trips if you get caught in a place where breastfeeding is temporarily impractical.

        • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
          July 14, 2017 at 4:39 pm #

          Side note, if its in the basement it’s best if it’s in a water tight container/containers(your emergency kit) hurricanes can flood your basement even if you are no where near the storm surge(our storm drains and streets just could not handle the volume). Also in some situations your water or gas pipes may rupture, causing another water leak…flood water is the worst…because of whats in it…

  10. July 10, 2017 at 3:58 pm #

    Moms who have babies with specific nutritional needs are well aware of which formulas we can use, thank you very much. It’s not freaking rocket science.

    In a massive breakdown, we’d have to do the best we could. A lower calorie formula may simply have to work for my preemie guy until we could get higher cal formula again.

    And bluntly, I’d recommend priority go to finding formulas for babies who have metabolic issues like galactosemia or PKU that standard formula can cause long term disability or death. For those babies, breastmilk is as toxic as formula.

  11. Gæst
    July 10, 2017 at 3:29 pm #

    Similar policies were discussed in Fearless Formula Feeder a few years back after a disaster in the Philippines. Someone was pushing for relactation as the best course of action for formula fed babies in a disaster zone.

    • MaineJen
      July 10, 2017 at 7:46 pm #


      • Gæst
        July 10, 2017 at 8:42 pm #

        I mean, if you are able to relactate on short notice, sure. But when you use this to justify not accepting donations of formula (it “takes up too much shelf space,” iirc) you’re saying you’re fine with babies dying.

    • Young CC Prof
      July 10, 2017 at 8:32 pm #

      I also saw one leader calling for donor breast milk to be sent to refugee camps. Because maintaining a cold chain to a refugee camp is, like, the easiest thing ever. And in the face of a measles epidemic through the camps, clearly breast milk is what you want to use that cold chain for, rather than vaccines.

      • Gæst
        July 10, 2017 at 8:40 pm #


        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          July 10, 2017 at 9:09 pm #

          We went to see the play, “Puffs” the other night, and ever since then, I’ve had another expression in my head:

          “Jesus Merlin Christ!”

  12. kilda
    July 10, 2017 at 1:43 pm #

    “There is also a risk that donations will be inappropriately provided to parents of breastfed babies, which can undermine the protective effect of breastfeeding and cause parents to become dependent on a continued supply of formula milk.”

    This reminds me of anti-drug scare stories from the 70s. “Try it once and you’ll become addicted!” Like stories where a girl tries a joint at a party and the next thing you know she’s a heroin addict turning tricks in a seedy motel. Can’t be helped, you know, she tried the forbidden and she was doomed.

    • AnnaPDE
      July 10, 2017 at 8:22 pm #

      That’s what I thought, too. Because when you’re a breastfeeding mother in an emergency zone and get a formula donation, you don’t just pass it on to someone you know who needs it more. No, you waste efforts to go hunt some clean water and bottles (or just settle for dirty) to prepare a bottle of formula, and feed your baby that, just because it’s there. And BAM, supply is gone, and now you’re dependent on formula.
      Because that’s what women are like, like monkeys who find a loaded gun and start fiddling with it.

  13. Beth
    July 10, 2017 at 1:41 pm #

    “There is also a risk that donations will be inappropriately provided to parents of breastfed babies, which can undermine the protective effect of breastfeeding and cause parents to become dependent on a continued supply of formula milk.”

    this reminds me of the scare stories they used to tell about drugs in the 70s. Try it once and you’ll be hopelessly addicted! You know, a girl takes drugs one time from a friend, and the next thing you know she’s a heroin addict turning tricks in a seedy motel.

  14. Empress of the Iguana People
    July 10, 2017 at 1:27 pm #

    Ugh. How oblivious are they?! (okay, that’s rhetorical) It’s not like you don’t need to stock up on clean bottled water anyway.

  15. swbarnes2
    July 10, 2017 at 1:01 pm #

    Discus is being weird about letting me edit my old post, I found the UNICEF link I had previously bookmarked, and oddly enough, it doesn’t work. This does.

    (emphasis in original)

    “Food banks should offer mothers who are formula feeding their infant, food to the mother for herself and her family. Formula milk should NOT be given to the mother for her infant.”

    So formula-fed infants aren’t family, in the eyes of UNICEF

    • Sarah
      July 10, 2017 at 1:15 pm #

      Indeed, pretty disgusting. Bear in mind also that Healthy Start vouchers are £6.20 a week. The cheapest formula available is £7 a tub, and that’s from Aldi, a budget supermarket that isn’t as widespread as the main ones and has no presence at all in NI. After that, the cheapest is about £9 a tub. And not everyone needing a food bank will necessarily be in receipt of Healthy Start vouchers anyway.

    • Gæst
      July 10, 2017 at 3:32 pm #

      I don’t see why we have to think of baby formula as a thing in a category all by itself. It’s food, plain and simple. Processed food, yes, but it has a long shelf life and is great for emergencies specifically because of that.

      • Empress of the Iguana People
        July 10, 2017 at 6:14 pm #

        Some processing is a *very* good thing.

      • Tigger_the_Wing
        July 17, 2017 at 3:32 pm #

        Unless we’re out in the fields, grabbing whatever wild plants are edible and taking the odd bite out of a passing cow, our food has been processed – at least to some degree.

        That is how our planet is able to sustain thousands of millions of people.

        The very first food processing humans ever did was to start cooking it, and it has simply advanced from there.

    • mabelcruet
      July 10, 2017 at 6:00 pm #

      I volunteer at our local food bank and I can safely say that piece of crap is ignored (at least in ours, not sure about any others). Our food bank runs out of the local community centre, and there is a coffee/refreshments area, so what we do is have people come in for a cup of tea and a bun while we put their package together-they are allowed to express a preference for some items like certain types of tinned food, obviously depending on what we have in. Any nursing mums (and dads) can have a look at the formula we get given-it’s usually bog standard SMA market leader type formula, but it means they can get stuff they know their baby will take. But there is also social funding available in our area to ensure these families get what they need for the baby.

  16. Sarah
    July 10, 2017 at 12:55 pm #

    The best part is, we barely even have any emergencies in the UK. And this article is talking about policy inside the country. Earthquakes, floods etc- very small here and never many people affected. We do have fires, of course, but we also have some of the more stringent building regs in the world (though not stringent enough apparently, hence Greenfell- which they are absolutely trying to piggyback off here)

    I can see why the World Health Assembly might recommend all countries have a strategy for emergencies but seriously, we’re one of the ones needing it least. It is just not a problem in the UK. They are talking about something that potentially affects only a smattering of people, and in reality might not actually affect any. There is not an urgent need for the UK government to devise a strategy to protect breastfeeding in major disasters at all.

    • Kerlyssa
      July 10, 2017 at 5:39 pm #

      …you realize that sort of attitude towards emergency preparation leads to complete inability to respond during an emergency, no? i can recall of the top of my head 3 massive floods in the past 5 years. floods contaminate water supplies and often coincide w major power losses, either due to accompanying storms or other infrastructure damage. contaminated water for 100k people may not be the same order of disaster as bangladesh flooding, but it’s still something that requires public planning and response.

      • Sarah
        July 11, 2017 at 2:54 am #

        What, the sort of attitude that the UK government doesn’t need a breastfeeding protection strategy? No, it really doesn’t.

        And it’s a fact that we’re much less at risk of big natural disasters than most societies. I’m well aware of various floods etc we’ve had in the UK of late (I presume your example was UK based, because otherwise it would be worthless) but they are not like even the disasters one sees in the US. Not only are they much smaller scale, but we are also a considerably smaller, less geographically varied and more densely populated country. None of this is to suggest that there shouldn’t be any disaster planning at all, and indeed there is, but in order to be effective it needs to be tailored for the circumstances when we’re actually likely to need it, ie minor scale incidents. And that is NOT the sort of situation this paper is describing.

        So I reiterate, breastfeeding protection in disasters is not something the UK government should prioritise developing a strategy on.

        • Kerlyssa
          July 11, 2017 at 3:49 am #

          i meant baby feeding in general, not protecting breastfeeding. i agree that i don’t see a place for breastfeeding promotion in disaster planning

          • Sarah
            July 11, 2017 at 4:21 am #

            It seems we agree then. Of course the UK should have disaster planning, and does, but tailored to our particular circumstances in which incidents like eg fires killing dozens in built up areas are more likely than eg tornadoes taking out half a city in their wake.

  17. lawyer jane
    July 10, 2017 at 12:54 pm #

    O/T: A moderate republican OB-GYN has been tapped for head of the CDC. Apparently she has made statements in support of abortion rights, but who knows if she will stick to that. Also she’s done work to reduce infant mortality in Georgia.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      July 10, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

      Orac talked about her today. Although there is some good, there is some major red flags in other aspects.

      • lawyer jane
        July 10, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

        Yikes, just read that. Weird stuff with the anti-aging. Well, at least her record as a public servant seems basically solid.

  18. lawyer jane
    July 10, 2017 at 12:49 pm #

    Trying to imagine what kind of emergency is so terrible that a mother who in theory loses her milk supply due to opting to use formula would never be able to continue accessing formula, because civilization has fallen apart … but somehow in this scenario she’s still be able to call the breastfeeding support line? This whole thing seems incoherent. I can see how

    On the other hand, one of their main points seems to be to give cash donations instead of donations in kind (e.g. cases of formula) so the money can be better targeted. That’s not a terrible idea. Although again, it presupposes a functioning civilization, where formula can sustain a baby indefinitely, not some kind of armageddon where breastfeeding is the only option but your milk dried up because you used a donated can of formula.

    • Sarah
      July 10, 2017 at 1:08 pm #

      They’re just not talking about situations that arise in the UK. Given that our geography precludes most serious disasters, it would have to be something societal breakdown-esque. There are legitimate points needing to be made about supporting breastfeeding mothers and babies in eg the 2004 tornado situation, occasions like that. Just not in a UK context.

      • Amy Tuteur, MD
        July 10, 2017 at 1:46 pm #

        These people are talking about UK preparedness, not other countries.

    • jumpygiraffe
      July 10, 2017 at 2:05 pm #

      I live in the UK, but worked in disaster preparedness and response in the US. Given what I have seen from agencies here, the general population should be very grateful they don’t have any wide scale disasters to contend with.

      • mabelcruet
        July 10, 2017 at 6:07 pm #

        In the UK, we normally don’t have the weather trying to kill us. But we are pretty hopeless at responding to incidents-a few inches of snow is enough to paralyze road and rail travel.

        • Empress of the Iguana People
          July 10, 2017 at 6:18 pm #

          In the US’s north side, a few inches of snow is an ordinary February day. An inch will totally cripple Georgia because they basically don’t have any equipment or experience shoveling.

          • Kelly
            July 10, 2017 at 10:58 pm #

            A few years ago they had that crazy bad traffic that left people stranded over night because of snow in Georgia. I understand though because I live in an area that shuts things down over an inch of snow. These areas don’t want to spend the money equipment when it does not even snow every year. The north laughs at us but there is a good reason it happens.

          • BeatriceC
            July 10, 2017 at 11:09 pm #

            It’s fiscally sound to just shut the city down rather than purchase and maintain the necessary amount of equipment to clear snow quickly like the more northern cities. It costs less money to close down. I’ve lived in the north and the south. It’s two completely different things.

          • Sarah
            July 11, 2017 at 4:25 am #

            Yes, it’s basically the same in the UK. For extremes of both hot and cold. Every year we get a couple of days of both, and things always end up shutting down, and people invariably complain that X country has it much worse for much longer periods and they manage it so why can’t we? Forgetting that the reason they can cope with 4 feet of snow or whatever is precisely because it’s the norm there. There’s nothing to stop us investing in state of the art snow clearing facilities, but for the handful of times we need them it isn’t the best use of funds.

          • Young CC Prof
            July 11, 2017 at 9:28 am #

            And it’s not just snow clearance. In excessively hot weather, roads and railroads buckle and electrical transformers burn out, but excessively hot is defined relative to the area, because that’s what the infrastructure was built for.

            In hot climates, buildings are designed to shed heat, in temperate climates, they’re designed to hold onto it. A few weeks ago, a local school shut down for the day due to extreme heat and lack of air conditioning, and a whole lot of people were whining about how they never shut down schools for heat in Florida. They didn’t get the whole architecture issue.

          • StephanieJR
            July 11, 2017 at 12:24 pm #

            My gran can still remember a really bad snowstorm up here (Northeast Scotland); bad enough that they used helicopters to deliver hay to the farms. Must be sixty years or so ago now.

            We do get a few storms a year, occasional power cut and the river bursting its banks, but never too much snow. Main problem in summer is the light; there’s a town a few miles north that’s on the same latitude as Juneau.

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            July 11, 2017 at 8:10 am #

            Oh, aye. I’ve Southern relatives and I know they’re very competent in a lot of areas. But why should Comfort, North Carolina buy snow plows for one snow storm in five years?

          • Kelly
            July 11, 2017 at 11:09 pm #

            Exactly. Even if they get snow every year it will the be the kind that melts before noon.

          • July 12, 2017 at 12:18 am #

            In my area, we don’t get snow storms so much as ice storms. No one has snow tires. No one knows how to drive on ice. It would cost a fortune to try to salt the roads- they do put down sand on the major ones before projected ice storms. But there just isn’t much you can do to clear 1-2 inches of ice on the road except wait for it to melt.

            So every 2-5 years, the city shuts down for 1-2 days when a bad ice storm hits. I don’t really hear people complaining about it, though. We all know why that happens.

          • Kelly
            July 12, 2017 at 1:45 pm #

            The only people who really complain in my area are the transplants from the north. I don’t mind having a few days off every now and again although my husband has to go in no matter what so it can complicate things. He normally has to ask someone from work who has a four wheel drive or an SUV to come pick him up.

          • Young CC Prof
            July 11, 2017 at 9:23 am #

            Also, people don’t know how to drive in snow, so letting the roads shut down is probably SAFER than clearing them badly.

          • Kelly
            July 11, 2017 at 11:07 pm #

            Yes, most definitely. Even my dad who grew up north and knows how to drive in the snow will only do it if he has to.

  19. Madtowngirl
    July 10, 2017 at 12:17 pm #

    You know, in a disaster situation, *I* would drink formula, especially if other food was in short supply. At least I’d be getting some nutrients. Why in the world would your first priority be to deny FOOD to BABIES? Oh noes, it’s not teh majik breastmilk!!! I guess the babies who are separated from their mothers during a disaster are “just not meant to live.”

    Watch out, Abbott. If there’s a disaster, I’m coming for your Similac warehouse.

    • July 11, 2017 at 6:05 am #

      Ever actually TASTE Similac?

    • Azuran
      July 11, 2017 at 8:11 am #

      Next step: prevent donations of canned food, no ramens or other instant food, no cookies or crackers or transformed food. Everything must be healthy, fresh, organic and GMO free.
      After all, what’s the point of surviving any natural disaster if you can’t eat the absolute, optimal, healthiest diet out there.

      • Roadstergal
        July 12, 2017 at 3:47 am #

        Or what a certain subgroup considers the optimal, healthiest diet out there. :p

  20. DaisyGrrl
    July 10, 2017 at 12:09 pm #

    “DO NOT distribute formula milk in an untargeted way.”

    ???! Let’s be honest, given the price of formula, no one is going to be handing out random cans to all comers. I did have fun picturing an Oprah-style moment where an aid worker shouts “You get a can! YOU get a can! You get a can!” while pointing to random victims. But seriously, I would expect aid agencies would be working hard to ensure that food is distributed fairly, with people getting what they need to the greatest extent possible.

  21. Comrade X
    July 10, 2017 at 12:03 pm #

    Yeah, obviously the Number One Priority in any major disaster situation is to make sure that previously pure breastfed babies don’t get sullied with a single drop of Teh Evul Formula. Obviously. Nothing else is remotely as important as this. I do think we should also set up a special Government Task Force, extremely well-funded of course, to make sure that no suburban white middle-class child has to consume anything non-organic or GMO at any time if disaster strikes. Crucial concern. Who’s with me?

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
      July 10, 2017 at 12:28 pm #

      Of course! Who cares if the breastfeeding mom is dead, injured, hospitalized or other wise unavailable! NO icky formula, better to find a random goat or something. /snark

      • Empress of the Iguana People
        July 10, 2017 at 1:38 pm #

        Still stuck under the building

    • kilda
      July 10, 2017 at 8:49 pm #

      or gluten. Guess we should ban wheat donations too.

  22. MI Dawn
    July 10, 2017 at 11:45 am #

    Well, obviously, formula feeding mothers are all stupid because they wouldn’t check to make sure the formula type is appropriate for their child? WTF? If my baby is on a special formula, you can be darn sure I’m aware of it and won’t grab the standard formula or the “toddler type”.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      July 10, 2017 at 2:13 pm #

      Then again, if my baby is dying, I will be far less choosy about what formula I grab. I’ll take anything that won’t specifically cause harm.

      But I agree, what it is it with this claim that “some people shouldn’t have X, therefore you shouldn’t use it”? I have seen that before. The specific example I know of is shampoo. I heard someone claim you shouldn’t use sodium lauryl sulfate shampoo because some people are allergic to it.

      All I could think is, some people are allergic to peanuts, too, but that is not an argument that I should not have a peanut butter sandwich. At least the drug people say specifically “don’t use this drug if you are allergic to it.” These morons would say, “Don’t use this drug if someone else is allergic to it.”

      • J.B.
        July 10, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

        Plus, there will always be allergies to something. Peanut butter is cheap and shelf stable, how about offering that to people who need a protein source and keeping the specialized more expensive stuff for those who really do have an allergy to it.

  23. Heidi_storage
    July 10, 2017 at 11:25 am #

    This would be funny if it weren’t so horrifying. These people don’t have actual power, do they? I hope?

    • swbarnes2
      July 10, 2017 at 12:32 pm #

      UNICEF guidelienes say not to donate formula, for much the same reason outlined in the post above.

      “Donations of formula milk are not in line with established internationally agreed codes of practice, and may put babies’ health at serious risk. ”

      This is a real UNICEF page:

      “Even one feeding of formula or other foods can cause injuries to the gut, taking weeks for the baby to recover.”

      • J.B.
        July 10, 2017 at 2:13 pm #

        Flames! Flames on the side of my face!

      • Kerlyssa
        July 10, 2017 at 5:45 pm #

        oh my god. reading that link was horrifying.

        • Sarah
          July 11, 2017 at 4:29 am #

          It was indeed. It was like lactivist bullshitting bingo.

          800,000 deaths, check. No mention of social factors or the distinction between correlation and causation, check. Saying early breastfeeding cessation is associated with PPD without bothering to mention that this is a problem for the cohort that actually wanted to breastfeed rather than non-breastfeeders per se, check.

          • Young CC Prof
            July 11, 2017 at 9:37 am #

            Yeah, that number had two very weird assumptions built into it. One, it ignored correlation versus causation and went with the most optimistic estimates of breastfeeding’s health benefits every time, second, it looked at the hypothetical benefits of near-universal exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months, neatly ignoring the fact that that’s obviously impossible.

      • Roadstergal
        July 11, 2017 at 2:33 am #

        Hey, you know what else puts babies are serious risk? Fuckin’ starvation.

        And the lack of consideration for women’s autonomy, even is breastfeeding goes pretty well. That’s some Handmaid’s Tale bullshit. Use your tits the way we want you to or your baby will die.

      • MI Dawn
        July 11, 2017 at 7:10 am #

        Another reason to reinforce my (internal) promise to never again donate to UNICEF. I’d rather give to the Red Cross.

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