Is donor breast milk safe for babies? A medical lecturer from a top university has asked mummies to think twice before accepting breast milk from other mums.
“Breast milk is like blood or an organ. It can transmit germs and diseases, which is why it needs to be screened before donation”, says, Professor Yong Poovorawan, paediatric hepatology professor at Chulalongkorn University Faculty of Medicine, Thailand.
His warning comes after popular Thai influencer, Passavee “Numwan” Payacaboot, bragged on Instagram about giving away her excess breast milk to many mums.
Is donor breast milk safe? Professor gives health warning
Mummies have been lining up for Numwan’s stash of breast milk ever since she posted about it.
“We have been giving away milk to mothers who don’t have enough to feed their own babies,” she said.
Apparently, she had spent about Bt1 million (S$42,000) on her donation campaign, which including buying storage bags and about 15 freezers!
A post shared by Passavee Payacaboot (@numwanz) on
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“I would like to receive your milk. My niece was prematurely born and weighed only 1,600 grams. Her mother’s milk isn’t nearly enough”, commented one woman on her post. Numwan has more than 435,000 followers on Instagram.
Professor Yong however is unimpressed.
“It is really strange that we eulogise a mother who pumps her own milk and gives it away to other mothers. This shows that the society is not [medically] literate,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
PHOTO: INSTAGRAM / @lucamilky
In spite of the warning, Numvan and her celebrity husband, Navin “Tar” Yavapolkul, have vowed to continue donating the excess milk.
Numvan even posted a picture of a baby who had been fed her breast milk with the hashtag, “checked before donation”.
“She is very healthy and as cute as my son Luca,” she wrote.
While hubby Navin revealed, “We are planning to collect milk from other mothers. We will match those in need with those with a milk excess. If the [medical] government agency wants to offer support, we are really pleased.”
PHOTO: INSTAGRAM / @numwanz
The initiative might be well-intended, but mummies, did you know that there are numerous health risks involved?
Donor breast milk health risks
There is no doubt that breast milk is liquid gold. Breast milk reduces the risk of infections and allergies, while improving blood pressure and bone density.
Mummies, if you are looking for donor breast milk, it is always a better idea to make use of official breast milk banks for the following reasons:
Screening for infectious diseases
Donor mums would have to be tested for diseases like HIV, Hepatitis B and C, syphilis etc. As breast milk is a form of bodily secretion, such diseases can also be transmitted through the milk to the baby.
Channel NewsAsia quotes paediatrician and neonatologist with SBCC Baby and Child Clinic, Dr Natalie Epton, as saying that, the ideal donor mum should be, “a mother of a child who has not yet started on solid foods, where the milk is still at that level of immaturity that is similar to that of a newborn.”
And it goes without saying that donor mums should be non-smokers.
Pasteurisation to eliminate infectious organisms
Donors usually express milk at home and freeze it before taking it to the milk bank. This milk needs to be pasteurised at 62.5 degrees Celcius and tested for bacterial contamination before it is dispensed, and stored in safe conditions.
A small percentage of nutritional and immunological properties are destroyed by pasteurisation, but pasteurised milk still retains many of its beneficial properties.
Also READ: 47 incredible uses of breastmilk
(Source: The Star Online)