Turkish Archives of Pediatrics

Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies: A Narrative Review


Health Science Institute, Social Pediatrics PhD Program, İstanbul Medipol University, International School of Medicine, İstanbul, Turkey


Division of Pediatrics, Department of Social Pediatrics, İstanbul Medipol University, International School of Medicine, İstanbul, Turkey

Turk Arch Pediatr 2024; 59: 135-143
DOI: 10.5152/TurkArchPediatr.2024.23184
Read: 421 Downloads: 206 Published: 01 March 2024

In emergencies, infants and young children are at risk of morbidity and mortality, which is increased by malnutrition. Environmental factors, food insecurity, household needs, misconceptions regarding breastfeeding, uncontrolled distribution of breast-milk substitutes, and psychological trauma make it difficult to implement proper feeding practices during disasters. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of infectious diseases and mortality in emergencies and is the safest way of feeding. Therefore, breastfeeding should be supported and promoted under all circumstances. When breastfeeding is not possible, relactation, wet nursing, or donor human milk should be considered as alternatives. If these options are not feasible, infant formula should be used. Formula should be provided only for infants in need, based on individual assessment. Donations of breast-milk substitutes should not be accepted; when needed, the procurement and distribution should be conducted by a single center under strict control, adhering to the requirements of the Code and Codex Alimentarius. Education and support should be provided to the family for the safe use of formulas. For infants older than 6 months, appropriate complementary feeding should be started. Complementary foods should contain nutrients that support the growth and development of infants, and they should be stored, prepared, and served safely. In conclusion, nutrition of infants and young children should be given priority in disasters as part of all emergency interventions. Determining the infants needs and ensuring proper nutrition, overcoming environmental challenges, and supporting parents will reduce nutrition-related risks and protect the health and well-being of infants and young children in emergencies.

Cite this article as: Bilgin DD, Karabayır N. Infant and young child feeding in emergencies: A narrative review. Turk Arch Pediatr. 2024;59(2):135-143.

EISSN 2757-6256