Advertisement

Unexplained drop in breast milk donations prompts public appeal from Fraser Health

Click to play video: 'Fraser Health appeals for breast milk donations' Fraser Health appeals for breast milk donations
Lucy Dominak, registered nurse and project lead for the Baby Friendly Initiative, discusses the urgent need for breast milk donations in the Fraser Health region – Jun 18, 2021

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.

Read more: Mothers turning to breast milk to protect children too young for COVID-19 vaccines

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.

Click to play video: 'Health Matters: Mothers turning to breast milk to protect children too young for COVID-19 vaccines' Health Matters: Mothers turning to breast milk to protect children too young for COVID-19 vaccines
Health Matters: Mothers turning to breast milk to protect children too young for COVID-19 vaccines – May 27, 2021

Donated milk is used to help treat premature babies, along with infants who have infections, digestion problems, allergies, burns and other problems.

Story continues below advertisement

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.

Read more: Is breastfeeding okay during pandemic? University of Regina professor provides clarity

“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?”

Fraser Health has 17 donation depots throughout the Lower Mainland. Interested donors can find out more here.

Sponsored content