Development of social media has had its fair share of pros and cons. Adding to the list of the positives is the Chennai-based Facebook community called Natural Parenting Community. The group is managed by 4 mothers Wahida Sathish Kumar, Sharanya Vijayakumar, Aishwarya Jayaraman, Bharathi Kalyan. The community is a base to help couples with parenting but they mainly focus on breast milk donation apart from baby wearing and various other activities.
Talking about how the group was started, Wahida said that it just happened accidentally. ‘The forum was actually started by a three group member and then was eventually took over by our team,’ she said. Elaborating on how the breast milk donation started, she said, ‘A doctor friend of mine, a few months ago called me stating that she was in need of breast milk for a child. I posted about that in the social media and within hours we were able to arrange for milk,’ she added. ‘The mother goes through a stressful stage with delivering a pre-term baby and its health. This affects her lactating and in turn, makes her stress more on the baby’s health. Ultimately the doctor turns to a formula which is not as healthy as the mother’s milk. This where breast milk donation comes in’ said Wahida.
Explaining on how they arrange for the milk, Wahida said,’We get requests from doctors whom we have tied up with for donation and then arrange for transportation of the milk. She said that though it is the mother who are the core of the group, fathers are the pillars. The donors in the group seem to be more happy about what they are doing, ‘It is a very gratifying experience donating breast milk, to help out a mother in need. Because I have seen the benefits of it firsthand. I still breastfeed my two years old and it has helped tremendously in her growth and fighting infections,’ said Aiswarya Jayaraman, a donator.
Talking about the importance of breast milk, Child Trust Hospital, consultant, Shobhana Rajendran said,’When the babies are less than 500-600 grams their organs are not ready for formula feeding. The biological mother due to various reasons is not able to produce milk and that is when this donation helps a great deal in providing life to these babies. Though the formula is known to imitate breast milk it is still artificial milk. This is where breast milk donation plays a vital role.’
Appreciating the efforts of the groups she said that breast milk donation has been there for a very long time, however, the group has increased the reach of the process. ‘Those times it was done within the household. Now times have changed with breast milk being available for everyone. But more awareness has to be created on this and of course, more breast milk banks are a necessity,’ concludes Shobhana.