Why we should do this: what the evidence says

Ministry of Health | Manatū Hauora works with relevant stakeholders to ensure policies and procedures are in place to effectively implement the National Health Emergency Plan in regard to Appendix 11 – Position statement on infant feeding in an emergency.

Greater collaboration between sectors is required to promote best practice in protecting breastfeeding parents and their children in emergencies (Gribble et al 2011). Strengthening policies on, and planning for, infant and young child feeding in emergencies will help to protect the health and feeding of all infants and young children in disasters and emergencies (COAG Health Council 2019; IFE Core Group 2017).

Ensure that breastfeeding parents have access to support and information that will enable them to initiate, maintain and reinitiate (if necessary) breastfeeding during an emergency.

Lack of support for infant feeding in emergencies places infants and young children at serious risk of adverse health consequences (Gribble, Peterson and Brown 2019).


COAG Health Council. 2019. Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy: 2019 and Beyond. COAG Health Council.

Gribble K, McGrath M, MacLaine A, et al. 2011. Supporting breastfeeding in emergencies: Protecting women’s reproductive rights and maternal and infant health. Disasters. 35(4): 720–38.

Gribble K, Peterson M, Brown D. 2019. Emergency preparedness for infant and young child feeding in emergencies (IYCF-E): An Australian audit of emergency plans and guidance. BMC Public Health. 19(1).

IFE Core Group. 2017. The Operational Guidance on Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies. United Kingdom: IFE Core Group.