Mumbai: Lactating Women Donate Breast Milk To Premature Baby. His Mother Dies In Childbirth

Father Chetan explained how baby Ivaan — a name chosen by his mother — is allergic to formula milk and the women regularly supplied their own breast milk to save him.

Ria Das
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Lactating women donate breast milk: In Mumbai, the recent birth of a premature baby boy is being seen as a miracle, as his COVID-19 positive mother passed away while giving birth. The mother was in labour when she couldn't survive a cardiac arrest at Kingsway Hospital in Nagpur. The medical team performed an emergency special perimortem Cesarean section on the mother to save the baby boy.

Minal Vernekar, who was just 32-year-old, has died from coronavirus. Now, lactating women in Mumbai have reached out to offer their breast milk as their baby, Ivaan, can't accept infant formula, due to his allergy. His father Chetan Vernekar, a Thane resident, is employed with a private firm, told Times Of India that it's a heartbreaking time for his family. He went on to thank all the new mothers who came to his rescue with this selfless gesture. “My family and I are filled with immense gratitude for the new mothers who contacted us in Nagpur after they learned of the death of my wife in the 32nd week of her pregnancy on April 8," Chetan, 32, reflected. He explained how baby Ivaan — a name chosen by his mother — is allergic to formula milk and the women regularly supplied their breast milk to save him.

"It is only because of this humane act that our child survived and has now been discharged from hospital,” said Chetan who lost his wife Minal. The mother, who worked as an HR consultant in Mumbai, went to Nagpur to be with her parents during her pregnancy when she contracted the virus and had to be hospitalised as her health deteriorated.

Chetan’s sister, Shanoo Prasad, said, “After the baby came home with his dad to Thane, we had to again search for milk." She further talked about how lactating mothers came in their support through a Facebook group called Breastfeeding Support for Indian Women, founded by Adhunika Prakash. During this emergency, the family was also guided on how to use the received mother’s milk for the baby.

"Someone had also posted about our situation on Twitter, following which we received several calls from people who wanted to help the premature baby. We are overwhelmed by this milk of compassion,” Prasad added.

Insurance employee Nayaah Bedi, who took to Twitter for organising breastmilk for Ivaan, told TOI that the moment she put up this SOS message online, she was profoundly shocked to receive over 100 replies within minutes from those wanting to help out. Currently, the family is busy arranging for milk from various donors in Mumbai and Thane, Prasad said.

Similarly, in April, several lactating mothers offered support to a Bengaluru-based mother Pragathi Badarinath who was diagnosed with COVID-19 and had to be separated from her eight-month-old infant. The child was not accepting formula milk, reportedly due to the trauma of his mother not being around, and many new mothers started donating breast milk for her infant. India has set up a number of human milk banks across the states to store pasteurised human milk.

Read what is a Human Milk Bank here.

Mumbai breast milk lactating mothers mother dies of COVID-19