Thai woman defies medical warning, vows to keep donating breastmilk

Thai woman defies medical warning, vows to keep donating breastmilk
PHOTO: Instagram/Numwanz

Think twice before accepting breast milk from others, a medical lecturer from a top university has warned.

"Breast milk is like blood or an organ. It can transmit germs and diseases, which is why it needs to be screened before donation. It is really strange that we [Thai people] eulogise a mother who pumps her own milk and gives it away to other mothers. This shows that society is not [medically] literate,” Professor Yong Poovorawan, paediatric hepatology professor at Chulalongkorn University Faculty of Medicine, posted on his Facebook page. 

Yong’s comment is apparently in reference to a high-profile Thai woman, Passavee “Numwan” Payacaboot, who boasted on Instagram that she had given away her excess milk to dozens of mothers.

She has been praised for her generosity by netizens and news outlets – and many more mothers have lined up for her milk. She is also vowing to continue, notwithstanding the warning.

เตรียมตัวปั้มนมต่อคะ ขอบคุณทุกกำลังใจเลยนะคะที่ส่งมาทุกทิศทุกทาง และขอบคุณที่ทำให้น้ำหวานมันใจและอยากจะทำความดีต่อไป น้ำหวานเข้าใจคุณแม่ทุกท่านที่ติดต่อขอรับเข้ามาและขอบคุณที่มั่นใจในตัวแม่น้ำหวาน และน้ำหวานก็เชื่อมั่นว่าแม่ทุกคนแค่จะหาสิ่งที่ดีที่สุดในคว

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เตรียมตัวปั้มนมต่อคะ ขอบคุณทุกกำลังใจเลยนะคะที่ส่งมาทุกทิศทุกทาง และขอบคุณที่ทำให้น้ำหวานมันใจและอยากจะทำความดีต่อไป น้ำหวานเข้าใจคุณแม่ทุกท่านที่ติดต่อขอรับเข้ามาและขอบคุณที่มั่นใจในตัวแม่น้ำหวาน และน้ำหวานก็เชื่อมั่นว่าแม่ทุกคนแค่จะหาสิ่งที่ดีที่สุดในความคิดของเราให้กับลูกน้อย แค่นี้ล่ะคะจิตวิญญาณของคนเป็นแม่อย่างเรา และเชื่อมั่นว่าแม่ทุกคนศึกษามาแล้วเป็นอย่างดีเพื่อลูก #ไม่ใช่บ้าดารา แค่รู้สึกแย่กับการมาว่ากลุ่มแม่ที่ทำเพื่อลูกหาอาหารให้ลูกเหมือนเป็นคนบ้าดารา และตัวน้ำหวานเองก็เป็นแม่ธรรมดาคนนึง ที่อยากจะช่วยแม่ด้วยกันเท่าที่เราจะทำได้ พยายามตอบข้อความทุกปัญหาที่แม่ถามมา และเมื่อมีแม่ขอน้ำนมมาเรามีพอที่จะแบ่งปัน เราก็ยินดีช่วย และขอน้อมรับทุกคำติชมที่เกิดจากความหวังดี #ไม่ได้เป็นดาราแค่ผู้หญิงที่เป็นแม่ธรรมดาคนนึง

A post shared by Passavee Payacaboot (@numwanz) on

“I would like to receive your milk. My niece was prematurely born and weighed only 1,600 grams. Her mother’s milk isn’t nearly enough. Thank you so much,” one woman commented on Numwan’s post.


“We have been giving away milk to mothers who don’t have enough to feed their own babies,” Numwan told the website Gossipstar.

She said she had spent about Bt1 million (S$42,000) on her donation campaign, including buying storage bags and about 15 freezers. Many mothers had got the celebrity’s milk at her own beauty line clinic Filorga.

However, doctors like Yong are worried that unscreened milk could pose a harm to these mothers’ babies, and that Numwan is causing people to misunderstand the real truth. More than 430,000 people follow Numwan on Instagram. 

Ruang Lao Jak Rong Mo (Stories from the hospital), a famous medical Facebook page, said yesterday: “Sharing your milk publicly makes people think donor milk [that has not been properly screened] is safe. This is totally wrong.”

ALSO READ: Babies shouldn't drink unscreened donor breast milk, doctors warn

Babies shouldn't drink unscreened donor breast milk

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    Donor breast milk that's screened, pasteurized and distributed through milk banks can protect preemies against serious illness,

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    but donated milk bought online or obtained from friends can actually make babies sick, say US pediatricians.

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    In its first policy statement on donor human milk, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises against using internet-based or informal human milk sharing.

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    These sources of human milk carry the risk of bacterial or viral contamination, or exposure to medications, drugs, herbs or other substances.

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    Most donor milk is distributed by milk banks through hospital neonatal intensive care units, and is typically reserved for preemies and other vulnerable infants.

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    With limited supplies, some parents are obtaining donor human milk directly from other parents or from internet sources that may be less safe since they vary widely in screening of donors and methods of milk storage and transportation.

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    Human milk offers advantages for all newborns, but particularly for infants weighing less than 1,500 grams (about 3.5 pounds), according to the AAP.

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    Mother's own milk is always preferred, in part because some of breastmilk's beneficial biological components may be reduced after pasteurization.

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    But donor human milk can be an effective alternative when maternal milk isn't available or falls short of the infant's needs, according to the AAP.

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    It's possible to pasteurize donor milk at home using what's known as the Holder pasteurization method, which heats milk to 145 degrees for a half hour then gradually cools it, or by flash heating

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    Infant formula provides the nutrients the infant requires, but has no additional health benefit

The group also pointed out that Filorga Clinic was an anti-ageing clinic, not a milk bank, and urged the Food and Drug Administration to intervene. Replying to the comments from the doctors, Numwan posted a picture of a baby and said it had been fed by her milk since it was a week old. “She is very healthy and as cute as my son Luca,” she wrote. 

The celeb hashtagged "checked before donation." Yesterday, her celebrity husband, Navin "Tar" Yavapolkul, also posted on his Instagram page that he and his wife would not stop giving away breast milk and would even invite other mothers to join their campaign. 

“We are planning to collect milk from other mothers. We will match those in need with those with a milk excess. If the [medical] government agency wants to offer support, we are really pleased,” he wrote. 

At Ramathibodi Human Milk Bank milk donors must be thoroughly screened, have their blood and milk checked for infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis and the milk must be pasteurised to eliminate infectious organism.

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