Breastfeeding During a Disaster and Other Emergencies

In emergencies, breastfeeding is the safest way to feed your baby. Continue to breastfeed to help your baby stay healthy.

Breast milk is the best nutrition for most babies. Breastfeeding helps protect your baby against some illnesses. During emergencies, babies may be more likely to get sick than adults.

Breastfeeding During an Emergency:

Parents comfort their baby while seated on a train.

Comforts your baby during emergency travel.

A mother breastfeeds her baby outside, while a relative also comforts the baby.

Keeps your baby hydrated. If your baby is less than 6 months old, they do not need to drink water or any other liquids, even in hot weather.

A mother breastfeeds her baby next to a picture of a shield and germs, showing that breastfeeding protects them from germs.

Helps protect your baby from germs that can cause colds, ear infections, diarrhea, and vomiting.

A mother breastfeeds her baby while sitting on a bed.

Provides a reliable and consistent source of nutrition.

A baby latches to breastfeed.

If your baby is breastfeeding well, you do NOT need to also give infant formula. Here are reasons why:

  • Formula can make babies feel full and stop breastfeeding.
  • Powdered formula can increase your baby’s exposure to harmful germs.
  • Water might not be safe to mix with powdered formula and clean bottles and nipples.
  • Your breast milk supply can go down if you feed your baby formula and breastfeed less often.
A mother breastfeeds her baby more often to increase her milk supply.

If you think you have less breast milk than normal, breastfeed more often to increase your breast milk supply.

A mother consults with a healthcare provider while holding her baby.

If you are worried that your baby is not getting enough breast milk or is not breastfeeding well, talk to a health care provider right away.

Learn More

To learn more about the basics of breastfeeding, visit CDC’s Infant and Toddler Nutrition website.

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