Breast milk donors fill gap left by death

By Anna Leask

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

The wishes of a first-time mother killed in a car accident will be granted by a network of other mothers eager to help give her baby daughter the best start in life.

Raglan woman Julia Borgoo, 29, was on her way to work when her car and another vehicle collided on State Highway 23 near her home just before 9am on Monday. She died at the scene, 10 minutes after leaving the home she shared with her partner, Manu Le Gouais, and their 4-month-old daughter, Kaya.

Ms Borgoo was breastfeeding Kaya and hoped to do so for at least two more months. After her death Mr Le Gouais is understood to have asked breastfeeding groups to help him find milk donors.

His request was spread across social networking websites including Facebook and by email, with mothers far and wide offering to help. Some women even offered to continue supplying him with milk until Kaya turned 1.

Within seven hours, a two-month supply of milk had been secured and a message was posted on various sites from Mr Le Gouais.

"A heartfelt thank you to all those who offered. The community of support, and the love and kindness shown has been overwhelming. Let everyone know that this baby is being loved and drinking breast milk, thank you again."

Lactation consultant Trish Warder said breast milk donations were not uncommon in New Zealand. She urged parents considering using donated milk to make sure they were well informed.

Mrs Warder said breast milk was similar to blood in that it could carry disease and infections including hepatitis and HIV.

"Tests done on blood are often the same as tests done on breast milk. It's about making informed choices," she said. "Some people choose not to test breast milk, but they need to be briefed on the possibilities."

Mrs Warder said breast milk could be kept up to eight days in the fridge, or up to five months in the freezer. She said women who had adopted babies often requested donor milk and surrogate mothers often donated.

Breast milk is made up of about 200 different components, while formula contains about 30.

"We don't know what half the things in breast milk are, but we do know that a lot of the things in it are brain growers. If you can give a baby its best shot, why not.

"[Ms Borgoo's] partner needs to be supported. If breast milk is what he wants and needs I am sure there will be offers. If it makes him feel better."

DONATED MILK

* Donors have their breast milk pumped and stored in sterilised containers until it is needed.
* Breast milk is similar to blood and can be tested for diseases including hepatitis and HIV.
* Breast milk can be stored for up to eight days in the fridge and five months in the freezer.
* Many women who adopt babies use donor milk, and women who act as surrogates donate.

- NZ Herald

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