By Laura Klein, PhD, Research Fellow, Milk, Australian Red [...]
In recent years, stillbirth and infant death have gained increased attention in the media, and from policy makers, researchers and practitioners. Significantly, however, a mother’s lactation and milk donation options after stillbirth or infant death remain hidden.
Thousands of Australian women experience late miscarriage, still birth, neonatal or older infant death annually. Amidst their grief, some of these women need to manage the onset of lactation. Different women may want to manage lactation differently.
The Red Cross Australia Lifeblood Milk Bank milk donor guidelines were developed using international standards with adaptation to Australian epidemiology. Over the first 12 months of Lifeblood’s Milk Bank operation the authors recorded the number of donors whose milk was not accepted and the reasons for rejection.
More than 4000 Australian women experience late miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal or older infant death annually.1 The physiological process of secretory activation leading to the onset of breastmilk production is triggered by delivery of the placenta2 and occurs even in the absence of a living infant. Unfortunately many women feel unsupported by their healthcare team when it comes to lactation after infant death.