In a recent social media post, a mum appeals to breastfeeding mothers to donate to their local milk bank. She then shares the heartbreaking reason why she hopes more breastfeeding mums would listen to her plea.
As a mum, she wanted nothing more than to breastfeed her babies. Unfortunately, she started relying on milk from breastfeeding mums because of her cancer diagnosis. She hopes her story encourages more mothers to donate to local milk banks.
Mum Asks More Breastfeeding Mothers to Donate Their Milk
A mum in Singapore wrote an article on social media to encourage other mothers to donate their breastmilk. She wanted to call the attention of more breastfeeding mums to donate their extra milk through her post.
In addition, she also wants to raise awareness about the milk bank in Singapore. The mum aims to inform other people about the current situation and experience of many babies relying on breast milk donations. She then decided to share her personal experience as a mum who can no longer breastfeed her child.
The Value of Breastmilk for Mums
Some women say breastfeeding feels like a tingling, warm feeling in the breast, especially when the milk begins to flow.
Experts say that breastfeeding produces the naturally soothing hormones oxytocin and prolactin that promote stress reduction and positive feelings in the mother. In addition, it also increases confidence, self-esteem, and calmness.
Several mothers experience a sense of well-being and contentment while they are breastfeeding. They say that each time a woman breastfeeds, she derives great pleasure from experience and contact with her child.
It could be heartbreaking for mums who can no longer experience this wonderful part of motherhood—the feeling of breastfeeding. A mum on social media encourages breastfeeding mothers to donate their breastmilk by sharing her personal experience as a mother.
A Mum With Breast Cancer
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With tears in her eyes, a Singaporean mum shares her story as a mother who cannot breastfeed her child. Heartbreakingly, she can no longer experience breastfeeding a child because of a cancer diagnosis.
According to her, she was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after she stopped breastfeeding her 14-month-old daughter. Because of her condition, she must undergo treatments, including 6-month chemotherapy. Aside from that, she also undergoes removal and reconstruction of both breasts with silicon implants.
“I was lucky enough last year to get pregnant again,” the woman said.
Fortunately, she could conceive four years after her cancer diagnosis again. Also, her second baby was born last week; she delivered her child successfully.
“I knew I would not be able to produce breast milk for this second baby,” she said. “So I applied for donor breast milk.”
Luckily, the mum’s application for donor breastmilk from a hospital was approved. It means that the hospital will be supplying her with donor breastmilk for 1 to 3 months. However, the supply will depend on the availability and sustainability at the point of birth.
The woman’s baby was around ten days old when she wrote the article. According to her, the infant has been drinking donor breastmilk since the baby was born. She could collect another two weeks’ supply of breastmilk during that time.
After getting another supply, the hospital informed her that the milk bank was running low on the donor breastmilk. They will stop supplying milk to older babies, including her 10-day-old son.
The hospital will prioritise those premature and sick babies. The priority will be given to those children whose lives may be endangered without donor breast milk.
“Why Am I Getting Cancer?”
The mother said that she fully understood and supported the hospital’s decision. She was not left with no choice because she could still use formula milk for her child.
However, the mum admitted that she felt a strong sense of mother guilt. She could not stop herself from crying whenever knowing that she could not produce breastmilk for her child.
“Why am I getting cancer?” was the question she kept asking herself after learning about her diagnosis.
It didn’t bother her for a while; however, it returned to her mind after the call. She hoped to receive donor breast milk but the centre needed to prioritise premature infants.
“I am just thinking if there are enough donors and donor breast milk, could this not happen?” she asked. “What would happen to those pre-mature and sick babies if the supply continues to be low?”
She then clarifies that what she wrote has no intention of compelling anyone.
“As a mother, there’s nothing I can do after receiving that call but to get some formula milk ready.”
Community Milk Bank Programme in Singapore
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The Temasek Foundation Community Milk Bank Programme is managed by the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital Human Milk Bank. It is a non-profit initiative that provides pasteurised donor human milk to both hospitalised premature and sick infants. Additionally, they also help non-hospitalised infants who meet the eligibility criteria.
Under the programme, human milk donated by breastfeeding mums with no biological relation to the recipient baby is screened, processed and dispensed by prescription. This follows in accordance with the international guidelines and protocols from the UK National Institute of Health Care (NICE) and the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA).
- Like blood donors, human milk donors get tested for infectious diseases.
- The donated milk goes through screening to check for bacterial contamination before and after the process of pasteurisation.
- The milk bank handles and stores the donated milk to maintain its nutritional value.
- Milk donation is voluntary and donors are not paid.
- All donors are kept anonymous.