Monday, September 22, 2008

New mother offers controversial breast value amid China's tainted milk scandal

A new mother sensing a business opportunity amid China's tainted dairy food scandal has caused fresh controversy by offering to breast feed other children -- at a price.

The 32-year-old woman surnamed Huang said she had been producing more milk than her 3-month-old son could consume and she would sell the surplus in a breastfeeding service for 300 yuan a day.

However, her advertisement on the Internet has aroused a storm of criticism among conservative Chinese.

"I know there has been criticism on the Internet, but I have stayed cool about this. Everybody can talk freely on the Internet, and what they say is their own business. I don't care," said Huang.

"Also my husband fully supports for me on this."

Huang, who lives in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, said she had received about 30 phone calls from prospective clients by Sunday, but had no takers.

She preferred customers to live with her, or rent a house nearby, which could cost about 1,000 yuan a month, to allow their babies to benefit from the freshness of the milk. "Human milk should be consumed within half an hour, as it starts to turn after that," she said.

Otherwise they could leave their children with her for the day.

If prospective customers had doubts about her own health or the safety of her milk, Huang said she could go with them to the hospital for a comprehensive physical examination.

"I have plenty of milk and my new born child cannot take it all," she said in her on-line ad under the name "Bushisgood", a pseudonmym used by her nephew, who had placed the ad. on the bulletin board at 9:23 a.m. on Saturday at her request.

"Every day, I had to dispose of more than two kilograms milk, which was a great pity," said Huang. "Too much milk made me feel uncomfortable, and I had to get up every night to express it."

Huang had read news stories of "nannies in some southern cities such as Shenzhen, who could have a month salary of more than 18,000 yuan".

"I can feed two more children, who will be fed first as the clients," she said.

Meanwhile, Huang's ad. has triggered a debate on the Tianyaclub bulletin board.

An Internet user named "Puffing smoke rings" said "the mother is crazy", but "Naked Huanghou" supported her, saying, "Modern society is full of business opportunities and it's up to you what you make of them."

Others questioned the 300-yuan price. Some thought "the product" was worth the price since there was too much tainted baby milk in the market, but others said it was too expensive.

As for whether the mother's "business" was legal, Yang Yongtao, a nutrition department director at a Chengdu hospital, said China had no laws forbidding it.

"Breast milk is good for babies and is recommended by the government," Yang said.

However, he also reminded the buyers to check the health of mothers, who could carry infectious diseases, such as hepatitis B.

More than 6,200 infants had developed kidney stones and four infants have died after drinking baby formula tainted with melamine, a chemical illegally added to give false protein readings in tests.


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