Nurturing as nature intended

BREASTFEEDING isn’t something that comes naturally to all women.
Pakenham mum and maternal child health nurse Candice Purvis would know, after struggling for weeks to feed her newborn girl Sophie last year.
But the 30-year-old mum, who has since mastered the art of feeding, is sharing her milk with other women who haven’t been as lucky.
Candice recently donated a litre of her own frozen breast milk through Human Milk 4 Human Babies (HM4HB) which connects families in need with women who have milk to spare.
She said breast milk was a precious resource and she couldn’t bear to waste hers knowing the problems faced by many women who struggle to feed.
“This is my first time donating breast milk.
“I just don’t want it to go to waste if there is a family that can use it,” she said.
A Greenvale mother, who lives more than an hour from Pakenham, made the long drive to pick up Candice’s breast milk over the weekend.
HM4HB is globally recognised and has branches in communities all over the world which assists parent-to-parent sharing.
Unlike hospital milk banks, which screens milk donors for infection diseases or factors that may implicate the safety of breast milk, such as medication, drugs or alcohol, HM4HB relies on a system of trust between mums.
“There is no screening but you can give them a copy of your antenatal blood results if they want. That shows you don’t have any infectious diseases,” Candice said.
Though milk formula is an option, the nurse of nine years said the donation service suited parents who were set on feeding naturally.
“I believe formula has its place, but for those wanting to exclusively breastfeed milk donation is a great opportunity,” Candice said.
Nutritional changes in breast milk mean ideal donations come from a mother whose baby is around the same age as the donor’s baby.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for babies up until six months of age for optimal health outcomes.
In 2010, 96 per cent of babies in Australia were breastfed from birth.
Only 39 per cent were exclusively breastfed to four months of age, tapering off to 15 per cent when they reached six months of age, according to Australia’s Health 2012 report.