The Red Cross is urging concerned women to stop sending their breast milk to Haiti, arguing that transportation, storage and screening create an unnecessary burden that negate any potential benefits of the donation.
MSNBC.com reports that the Human Milk Banking Association of North America put out a press release describing an urgent need for breast milk in Haiti, to feed orphaned and premature infants. The Emergency Nutrition Network and the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance have asked this group to retract the press release, saying that breast milk donations to Haiti present an "unfeasible and unsafe intervention."
The confusion started earlier this week when the milk bank group and several organizations -- including heavy hitters like La Leche League International -- urged nursing mothers to donate milk. While representatives for aid agencies such as the American Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders and World Vision said there never was a need for donated milk, some agencies said they heard from workers at orphanages in Haiti who indicated that babies were going hungry.
Despite best intentions, nearly every major relief organization agrees that the best way to help Haiti's struggles at this time is to donate money so that nonprofits can continue their recovery efforts.