27/01/2010 21:56 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Breastfeeding Mums Send Milk For Haitian Babies

Do you feel powerless watching the news coverage of the plight of Haiti's people following the earthquake? Imagine, as a mother, what it would feel like to actually make a difference to babies caught up in the disaster.

Some nursing mothers in America know exactly how that feels. Their breast milk is being donated to Haitian babies to give them the best chance of survival.

The donations are being flown out to a US floating hospital moored off the Haitian coast after a doctor treating babies on board appealed for donations.

The Naval doctor, treating babies on the floating hospital USNS Comfort, had his plea met by the Mothers' Milk Bank of Ohio.

Coordinator of the milk bank, Georgia Marrow, told ParentDish: "We would not go through all of this if we did not believe this will allow the babies the best opportunity for survival."

As clean drinking water is in short supply in Haiti, breast milk is a safer option compared to formula. It also contains antibodies that will help the babies fight infections, a common occurrence in children following a disaster, Marrow says.

Tria Shadeed, a mother from Ohio, regularly donated milk to the bank until last month but is hoping her donations will be among those sent to Haiti.

"I would be very proud to know that my milk would be used to help orphaned infants or infants who are hospitalised," she told The Columbus Dispatch newspaper.

The nursing mothers donated 500 ounces of milk, which was then frozen in order to be transported by plane and helicopter to the ailing babies.

It is uncertain how long the milk will last but Marrow has pledged to work with America's nine other milk banks to keep the babies at the floating hospital fed. She says babies drink just a teaspoon to a few ounces per feeding, depending on their size.

Frozen donated breast milk can be kept for up to a year and is usually used to help babies in hospital neonatal units.

Source (ParentDish US)