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.
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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.
Health Matters: Mothers turning to breast milk to protect children too young for COVID-19 vaccines
Donated milk is used to help treat premature babies, along with infants who have infections, digestion problems, allergies, burns and other problems.
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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.
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“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.
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