There was a time where donor milk was not readily available everywhere in Singapore. This was when Sister Susan was working in the NICU in one of the private hospitals, where she got to meet one of the mothers of a 25 weeker premature baby.
Sister Susan shared, “At that time, the doctor wanted to start the baby on early breastfeeding, however the mother was having a hard time expressing milk. Upon talking to her, I noted she was getting depressed because of the milk situation. Empathising with her, I tried suggesting foods she can take to help with her lactation of which she told me she has tried practically almost everything that she learnt from her sources and the internet.
I then told her about the papaya soup of which she has already tried. I put her in touch with one of the mothers who has a good history of breast milk production. She taught her the papaya soup recipe the way she cooked it and miraculously, it worked this time!”
Studies have shown that green papaya contains lactogum and has the potential to stimulate the hormone ‘oxytocin’ and the hormone ‘prolactin’ through substances, which is what increases breast milk production.
The mother came in a few days later with 3 bottles of EBM, about 50ml in each bottle. That was a huge accomplishment for her, and she never looked back since.
Several months later, Sister Susan did a home visit after the baby's discharge to see how the mother was coping at home and that’s when she noticed the mother had 3 deep freezers. The mother explained that ever since her milk started coming in, she was getting gallons of it with each express. As it cannot be donated to anyone, her fridge slowly started to fill up, it got to the point where she had to purchase another 2 fridges just to store her milk.
Overwhelmed by the amount of frozen EBM, she decided to incorporate it into her everyday life. She's used the milk to make her husband’s coffee, her son’s milo & even ice cream for the whole family! She said her son has been suspicious of his milo and ice cream and has commented on it. She even mentioned how she wanted to try & bake a cake with her leftover EBM.
“Although I was happy for her, I was also amused. I did not accept the tea she gave me for I didn’t know what milk she used in it.”
Looking back, if only donor milk was customary back then, this mother would’ve been able to donate all her excess milk to other mothers in need. Fortunately, mothers these days do not have to worry about this as donor milk is readily available in KKH.