Māmā battles cancer and barriers to breast milk donations
Merania French has a new-born baby but the new addition is tempered by the fact she's receiving chemotherapy to treat cancer.
The treatment has rendered her breast milk unusable so French has to rely on donated breast milk to feed her baby.
But she says mothers who want to donate breast milk have to go through a costly testing process.
“That's the thing; I'm unable to feed baby my milk.”
Just two weeks after her second son was born, French was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
She says she struggles most with how the chemotherapy toxins could affect her kids.
“It's really difficult. I'm unable to feed him milk for three days after chemo. I'm also unable to kiss him, it's not good for my saliva to be near him.”
Feeding her son remains a struggle, so French took to Facebook to seek breast milk donations and was overwhelmed by the support.
One of the issues she faced was that while there were many keen to donate, the fee for blood testing can often be out of reach.
French believes there should be funding support systems in place.
“A lot of the mothers that want to donate but one of the criteria is for them to have blood tests were done which can cost up to $170. I’ve heard the government fund to tined milk, why not for mothers who are willing to donate?”
French's chemotherapy course will come to an end in the coming months, and soon after she'll be allowed to breastfeed again, but she says she'll continue to champion the issue until there's support in place for mothers who want breast milk for their kids.