“ Message from the earthquake” By Dr. Siripatana Siritanaratkul
My friends in the cyber community of www.thaibreastfeeding.org posted messages about miracles and human bravery in the recent earthquake in China. They helped me trace this story from a forum quoted in Singtao News. This is what I imagine might have happened on that fateful day, 12 May 2008 , 2.28 PM ,when a major earthquake struck Sichuan province.
In the residential area of Duijanyan , a young mother was holding her 3 –month-old baby girl when the building all around her shook violently and began falling apart. To protect her precious little one she kneeled down , pinning her head and hands on the ground providing a space just enough for her baby to suckle at her breast. When all the chaos stopped, they were trapped but her body gave her daughter warmth and her milk gave her much needed water and energy during the time before rescuers came the following day, 24 hours after the quake.
There is another story of Jiang Xiaojuan ,a 29 –year-old police officer and mother of a 6 month old baby . Responding to the call of duty and the instinct of motherhood, she selflessly breastfed 8 infants orphaned or separated from their mothers by the same earthquake. In those difficult time when hungry infants needed to be fed breast milk from a kindhearted mother came to the rescue.
In emergency situation such as natural disasters breast milk is valuable as it is a clean source of water and energy. Amid the confusion of a disaster aftermath where can one find clean water to drink or make formula milk? Infants are delicate and prone to infections. If their food or drinks are contaminated they will get sick or diarrhea easily. Breast milk provides both nutrients and antibody protection against infections.
Furthermore in stressful situation like this breastfeeding helps calm down both mother and baby. The baby’s suckling causes the pituitary gland to release a hormone called “oxytocin” dubbed “ hormone of love “ or“ satisfactional hormone” .When this hormone is released into the brain it will promote calming and positive social behaviors thus fostering bonds between mother and child.
Recent natural disasters such as cyclone, snow storms or extreme weathers may send warning messages to us that we are using up too much fuel and warming up the earth too fast. We should go back to basic natural ways as best we can to preserve our source of energy. Breastfeeding is one of them.
Breast milk is one of the most ecologically friendly product ever produced, packaging in the most beautiful container designed by nature. Its production and delivery is pollution- free and it only has positive effect on the environment. Unlike formula milk, breast milk “ packaging” does not require paper, plastic or any metal. So by promoting breastfeeding we can reduce significant amount of trash and use less energy.
Breastfeeding warms babies globally yet in some way reduces “global warming”.
Back to Duijanyan 24 hours after the earthquake :
A volunteer doctor who found the mother and baby pair among the rubbles said with tears in his eyes ,” At that moment we saw a red little face against the dead mother’s grey breast that were covered with dust” .Everyone there were deeply moved by the sight.
The baby may have suckled her mother’s breast until the milk ran dry and she miraculously survived. Although the mother did not make it she had sent a strong message to the world :
“ Breast milk is life –saving and represents the mother’s purest love.”