The flood that hit Kelantan in December 2014 was the worst in Malaysian history. Women and their infants accounted for a large proportion of the people at risk who were badly affected, as almost half of the population in Kelantan was in the reproductive age group. This report serves to raise awareness that breastfeeding mothers and infants are a special population with unique needs during a disaster. Four of their concerns were identified during this massive flood: first, the negative impact of flood on infant nutritional status and their health; second, open space and lack of privacy for the mothers to breastfeed their babies comfortably at temporary shelters for flood victims; third, uncontrolled donations of infant formula, teats, and feeding bottles that are often received from many sources to promote formula feeding; and lastly, misconceptions related to breastfeeding production and quality that may be affected by the disaster. The susceptibility of women and their infant in a natural disaster enhances the benefits of promoting the breastfeeding rights of women. Women have the right to be supported which enables them to breastfeed. These can be achieved through monitoring the distribution of formula feeding, providing water, electricity and medical care for breastfeeding mothers and their infants. A multifaceted rescue mission team involving various agencies comprising of local government, including the health and nutrition departments, private or non-governmental organizations and individual volunteers have the potential to improve a satisfactory condition of women and infants affected by floods and other potential natural disasters.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.