TIPS: How to care for your newborn during a natural disaster

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BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD)- Woman’s has delivered more than 120 babies since Hurricane Ida made landfall on Sunday, so they understand the challenges many of the new parents in the area are facing in the wake of this natural disaster.

Experts at Woman’s have compiled a list of tips for new parents during a disaster, including what to pack in your baby’s disaster bag, what documents to have on hand, and how to take care of your body and prevent injury.

It’s imperative that newborns receive adequate nutrition rather through breastfeeding or formula:

  • Breastfeeding: Breast milk is the best food for your baby as it’s naturally clean and helps protect your infant from illnesses. If you rely on pumped milk, bring a breast pump, charger and extra batteries. 
  • Formula: If you don’t have sterile water, use ready-to-feed formula. Do not use water treated with iodine or chlorine tablets. Unused formula cannot be refrigerated during a power outage, so use small ready-to-use formula in single servings. Bring enough food to last 7 days. If needed, you can use a disposable feeding spoon or cup to feed your baby.

Disasters can also be a time of stress for everyone, especially new parents. Some different types of stresses to be on the looking for include:

  • Physical stress: Rest as much as you can, don’t get overheated, and eat healthy meals. 
  • Emotional stress: Share your worries and concerns with a friend, family member or health care provider. 
  • Abuse: It’s not OK to be hit, kicked or pushed, or for someone to yell at you, scare you or call you names. If you’re being abused, tell someone or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE (7233). 
  • Baby blues and postpartum depression (PPD): Baby blues are feelings of sadness that usually go away about 10 days after your baby’s birth. PPD is strong feelings of sadness or worry that last a long time. These conditions can affect how you feel and act, and disaster recovery can make your feelings worse. Talk to your doctor and if you’re worried that you may hurt yourself or your baby, call 911.

Woman’s Hospital has many resources for new moms to help care for their babies. Visit womans.org/babycare for more information and to view the full disaster tip sheet.

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