Horsham mother Bree Stonehouse has been expressing kindness during the coronavirus pandemic by creating a network to connect mothers in search of milk for their babies.
The clinical nurse educator, who is working towards becoming a lead educator at Rural Northwest Health, said the idea was prompted by a Snapchat from a friend in need.
"I had a friend post on Snapchat about how he was struggling to find the right formula for his baby," she said.
"It worked out he had to find a different formula and it was disagreeing with his baby which was causing a whole lot of drama.
"He was lucky enough that he reached out to the right person and was able to get the right formula for his baby but it made me think, well I'm lucky enough that I have an oversupply of breastmilk and my freezer is full of expressed milk.
"So I thought I could just alleviate a little of that stress and pressure for people until they can get their hands on the right milk for their babies."
The mother of two said the panic buying phenomenon had hit families hard, with people struggling to get essentials like baby wipes, formula and nappies.
"My biggest thing at the moment is trying to find wipes, because obviously there are restrictions and there's just been so many people that have contacted me and said they have spares."
Mrs Stonehouse said she had joined other online groups like Love Your Neighbour Horsham to source what she needed but saw a gap she could fill.
"It's nothing big on my part because I'm lucky that I can express quite a bit but there are mothers and fathers out there that are stressing because they can't get their formula," she said.
"It can be quite a stressful time knowing that you may not be able to feed your baby."
In response to the demand Mrs Stonehouse created a Facebook group for people called Human Dairy Farm on Friday, which she hoped might inspire a wider movement of milk sharing.
She said she provided information about storing and defrosting milk on the page.
"I've had about four of five mothers talk to me about donating and I've actually had about three or four mothers that have contacted me about getting some supplies," she said.
"All the mothers I have spoken to are in the Wimmera but one of my friends has had someone contact them from Melbourne.
"I actually think it's something that might be spreading."
Mrs Stonehouse, who is originally from Warracknabeal, said even though there was a "great community atmosphere" in the regions, it was still easy for people to fall through the cracks.
"It's a shame that it's taken a crisis like this for people to actually help others," she said. "People should be helping each other all the time not just when there's a big crisis.
"It is a bit humbling to know people are struggling, not just with the crisis but financially as well. So knowing there are people willing to help out with nothing but a thank you in return is really special."
The Australian Breastfeeding Association supports and encourages the establishment of human milk banks in line with the WHO/UNICEF Declaration of 1980: 'Where it is not possible for the biological mother to breastfeed, the first alternative, if available, should be the use of human milk from other sources. Human milk banks should be made available in appropriate situations'.
Australian charity The Mothers Milk Bank has issued an urgent call for mothers to the human milk emergency reserve and said there was no evidence that coronavirus could be transmitted through breast milk.
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