Updated: Nov 16, 2020
WHEN Gold Coast mother Jazmin Merchant-Woodford's son was born, it wasn't the gifts of new clothes or toys she valued most - it was breast milk from a stranger that helped her keep her tiny son alive.
Unaware of the donor milk options available the young mum said she was stressed about the prospect of formula, when her son Grayson was delivered early at a smaller than the normal birth weight.
"When he arrived I had delayed production and was nervous about him going on formula, so when I was offered donor milk I was so surprised - I didn't know it was a thing," she said.
Jazmin Merchant-Woodford breastfeeds but also uses donated breastmilk to feed her 5-week-old baby, Grayson Edwards. Picture: Jerad Williams
Thanks to the Gold Coast Health Waijungbah Jarjums midwifery service who teamed up with The Mothers Milk Bank the young family were able to access the supply.
Now Ms Merchant-Woodford wants other mothers to know that formula isn't the only option. "The process was so easy I can't speak highly enough, more people should know about it," she said.
"Waijungbah Jarjums organised access to the milk straight away so he got the colostrum right after he was born.
"I am still able to access the donations and give Grayson top-ups after I breastfeed."
Waijungbah Jarjums, a First Nations people maternity care service promotes the benefits of breastfeeding and human milk for human babies to support mums who are at risk of premature birth, low birth weight babies, and delayed milk supply.
5-week-old Grayson Edwards. Picture: Jerad Williams
The Mothers Milk Bank which has been active on the Coast for over 11 years is a not-for-profit organisation that provides screened and pasteurised donor milk.
Lactation consultant Lynn Hall said despite the pandemic there had been a steady supply from generous mothers.
"We try very hard to help any parent who has an infant or young child who needs breast milk - we will find a way to get that too them."
Originally published as Surprising gift of life given to new Coast mother