Katherine - posted on 12/27/2010 ( 17 moms have responded )
Consider this the coolest -- and strangest -- breastfeeding story you'll read all week. A monkey in China has all the breast milk she could use -- human breast milk that is. The wife of a vet at the zoo in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China, heard a lion-tailed macaque at the zoo had been abandoned by its mother and would die without sustenance.
Having just given birth to her own child, Splash News says the woman offered to donate her own milk. Kudos to her, but this puts donor milk in a whole new realm, doesn't it?
This is no Tori Amos with a piglet to her breast. Pictures show the little guy with a bottle in his mouth, so it's pretty safe to say she pumped and dumped to breastfeed. And it worked! After two months of human breast milk, the monkey -- who is one of only 3,500 of his kind remaining in the world -- has doubled his weight and he's healthy.
Said feeder Yang Yi, "The best food for a newborn is breast milk." It's worked before -- one woman saved not one but two baby pandas with her breast milk at a Beijing zoo. Huzzah!
But, please, let's not all run out to the zoo and offer up our boobies. The standard donation banks in America are for women with an overabundance of milk who donate so premies and babies with medical conditions can partake. But it's hard to get in if you're in need. Just ask Neil Patrick Harris -- the actor and proud new papa has reportedly been having a tough time getting a hold of breast milk for his daughter Harper Grace. He's a celebrated actor with a hearty bank account. He would have been better off as a monkey.
These sort of novelty acts are heartwarming on the one hand, but entirely depressing on the other. Zoos shouldn't have to depend on this kind of good Samaritan, and hospitals shouldn't either. With the number of rabid breastfeeding supporters out there (not that that's a bad thing!) the best way to support the cause is to fill the breast milk banks with the way blood banks are filled -- with regular drives and regular donations.
If one mom can breastfeed a monkey, you can breastfeed a child in need. What do you say?