There’s a reason breast milk is called liquid gold; it’s so precious that it’s hard to come by in some women. There could be various causes for a limited supply of milk in a mother’s breast. A premature delivery, breast engorgement or simply, low reserves of milk could prove as obstacles to breastfeeding. The next best alternative? Breast milk sourced from a milk bank.
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Insight Into Milk Banking
A newborn should be fed soon after birth. The longer a gap you leave, the harder it is to establish a feed cycle. Human milk sourced from a milk bank is considered second best to a mother’s own breast milk. If, for any reason, a new mother is unable to nourish her baby with her own breast, banked milk becomes a viable option. Breast milk is known to remedy conditions stemming from prematurity, intractable diarrhoea, malabsorption, nephrotic syndrome, short-gut syndrome and congenital abnormalities. Studies have also evidenced that infants who are fed breast milk, as opposed to formula, demonstrate superior intelligence. There are a host of benefits that breast milk offers, even if it isn’t your own: it builds immunity, wards off viruses and bacteria and promotes development.
Hygiene Measures Adopted at Milk Banks
Breast milk banks are typically overarched by an upstanding code of hygiene. Milk always runs the risk of contamination, which could prove fatal to a newborn baby. Milk banks follow a careful screening process to ensure that the sanctity and nutritive value of breast milk remains optimal once it has been given by a donor.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1. Review of Donor’s Medical Records
As a first step, medical records of a potential donor are reviewed to check for conditions that may affect the quality of breast milk.
Step 2. Serum Screening
A sample of milk from a potential donor is drawn in order to conduct lab tests for quality validation.
Step 3. Heat Treatment
All donated milk is put through a heating process that kills any bacteria that may be nesting in it.
Must read – What are the Health Benefits of Breastfeeding?
Spread of Milk Banks in India
If you’ve been actively considering sourcing banked milk for your baby, help is likely near. Most urban Indian cities host one milk bank each, and there’s usually enough to go around without worrying about stock-outs. Bear in mind, that banked milk could prove expensive, with 1 millilitre costing approximately Rs. 15. Thus, it’s important to plan ahead for your baby’s feeds. Cities like Pune, Mumbai and Delhi offer NGO-run milk banks while Bangalore offers a commercial milk bank. The quality across all of these is largely consistent.
The merits of breast milk are unparalleled when it comes to nutritional value. Your body doesn’t have to be a roadblock on your breastfeeding journey. Donated milk can work just as well. There’s nothing like a little liquid gold to light up your little one’s first feed. Introduce nutrition, the right way.
Know more – A Guide to Freezing and Thawing Breast Milk.