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New mothers donate milk to help baby

A volunteer takes care of 4-month-old Tang Xinyun at a hospital in Chengdu, Sichuan province. Tang's mother, Liu Chunyan, was injured in the April 20 earthquake. (LI XIANGYUN / FOR CHINA DAILY)

More than 20 new mothers rushed to a hospital to help breastfeed a stranger's babywhose mother is recovering from injuries caused by the magnitude-7 earthquake onApril 20 in Sichuan province.

Tang Hongjun, the baby's father, was worried after his wife Liu Chunyan was sent to ahospital.

"I had only 10 yuan ($1.60) in my pocket," said the 26-year-old farmer from Yuechicounty in Sichuan.

He didn't have enough money to buy baby formula for the couple's 4-month-olddaughter and was worried that the hospital wouldn't treat his wife.

"To my surprise, Huaxi Hospital offers free treatment and free meals, and kind-heartedpeople breastfed my daughter," he said.

Liu, 27, was injured when a wall inside the two-story building where the family live inTianquan county collapsed and fell on her. She had gone back inside after theearthquake to rescue her youngest daughter, Tang Xinyun.

Her husband had already left the building with the couple's two other daughters, aged3 and 5.

Her spleen and pancreas were damaged. Liu underwent surgery to remove them atHuaxi Hospital in Chengdu on April 21.

Xiao Fengming, a head nurse in charge of the liver and vascular surgery ward, saidLiu couldn't breastfeed her daughter because the medicine she is taking might have anegative impact on the baby through her milk.

Xiao and her colleagues bought milk formula, milk bottles, towels and napkins for thebaby.

"My daughter was so hungry that she drank 60 milliliters of milk formula in one sitting,"Liu said. "Medics are so kind, and I feel like a VIP. Cheng Liu, a young nurse, washesmy face, combs my hair and helps me squeeze milk every day to ensure I will havemilk to breastfeed my daughter after I am discharged from the hospital."

Soon after she arrived at Huaxi Hospital, two new mothers donated their milk for herdaughter and left without giving their names.

As her story spread, 29 new mothers in Chengdu also volunteered to breastfeed herdaughter.

"Two mothers came in the morning and the other pair in the evening to breastfeed mydaughter," Liu said.

Zhang Xue, one of the new mothers helping Liu, said, "As a mother, I can understandthe misfortune of Liu Chunyan and just want to help."

According to Xiao, Liu is now able to walk and her condition is stable.

Tang said: "Our family of five will return to my wife's home village of Mushan inDongkou county in Hunan province where she can be better taken care of by herparents."

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