It is painful to see the dilemma a mother faces to not be able to nurse her new-born baby. In order to counter such crisis, the Human Milk Bank (HMB) was started six months ago at BYL Nair Hospital by MCGM, with the support of M/s Jewelex India. The initiative as of now has more than 200 mothers who have voluntarily donated their breast milk.
This major help has been a boon to nearly 105 new-born babies, who were admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) ward of the hospital. According to stats, around 97 per cent of the benefited babies have been discharged.
According to a report by DNA, till date, over 94 litres of milk has been collected. The hospital saw an increase in collection from 14 litres to 25 litres in the past six months. On an average, up to 750 ml of human milk is collected daily.
Speaking about the benefits and the need for such a bank, Dr Sushma Malik, Professor and Head, Department of Paediatrics and in-charge of HMB, said: “Human Milk Banking is the need of the hour. Breastfeeding is optimal, safe, inexpensive, natural, immunological best, easily accessible and the ideal source of nutrition.”
Government advertisements have time and again laid emphasis on how breast milk provides is the best source of nutrition for a baby. Furthermore, a donor’s human milk is the second best choice for a baby extending how important it is to bank the milk.
While the HMB will complete six months on August 14, it has helped on an average five babies per day. The new-born babies who benefit from the milk bank include — preterm babies, low birthweight babies and babies whose mother are admitted to MICU or have died, and critically ill babies.
So what exactly is the procedure to volunteer for such a noble cause? “The breast milk is collected from the mothers, who have recently delivered a child, from the post-natal wards and from mothers whose babies are in the neonatal intensive care unit and from breastfeeding mothers in the OPDs. The mothers can donate till they are breastfeeding their babies. The mothers have to voluntarily donate it. These mothers undergo a clinical and laboratory investigation before the donation, and they have to sign a consent form”, explains Dr Malik.
Some milk facts to be noted:
Human milk can be frozen for approximately 6 months
Breastfeeding mothers (voluntary donation) can donate for the cause.