An unexplained drop in breast milk donations in the Fraser Health region has prompted a public appeal for donors.
The health authority says donations dropped by about 7,000 ounces, or 13 per cent, during the pandemic, while other health authorities have seen donations increase.
Officials aren’t sure what’s behind the decline, but say the decrease is worrisome in a program that can be life-saving.
“It’s concerning because our very sick and pre-term premature babies rely on it, so it’s literally a life-saving medical intervention for our sickest youngest population,” Baby-Friendly Health Initiative project lead Lucy Dominak told Global News.
Donated milk is used to help treat premature babies, along with infants who have infections, digestion problems, allergies, burns and other problems.
It can also be used to help babies heal and avoid infection after surgery.
Jyoti Jha, a software engineer and mother of a 22-month-old, was a regular donor to the program after childbirth, and called on other new moms to step forward if they are able.
“When I did it it felt so great,” she said.
“It’s something only a woman can do, and only at a certain age of their life, and not everyone has this opportunity for this lifetime, and it’s once in a lifetime or two in a lifetime opportunity so why not?”