M3 Features

Breast Milk Banks - A boon for babies

August 31, 2013

The initiative by West Bengal State Government to start a Breast Milk Bank in Kolkata has not only hit the headlines but touched a chord with many. There can be no donation more divine than Breast Milk and that too only a lactating mother can make this donation. This makes it even more special.

The concept of such milk banks is quite popular in the UK, United States of America and Sweden. In India we have such initiatives in Mumbai, Pune and Surat too. The Breast Milk Bank in Kolkata is not only modern and sophisticated but a first in the public sector in India.

The statistics quoted by World Health Organisation puts India at the top of the list for having the highest number of pre-term babies. It is a universal fact that mothers who deliver pre-term babies are unable to breast feed. In such situations only a Breast Milk Bank can give these infants a better shot at survival and ensure their well-being as they grow up

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who also looks after the Health portfolio said, "this is the most modernized and advanced breast milk bank which has been set up with utmost care so that it is infection free and caters to the need of babies who normally do not get mother's milk."

There were a few human milk banks in hospitals in the private sector said Minister of state for health Chandrima Bhattacherjee."But this is the first ever public sector initiative of setting up a modernized and advanced breast milk bank," she said.

This initiative of Breast Milk Bank would also help in bringing down the infant mortality rate and also address the issue of malnutrition among newborns if this initiative is replicated countrywide.

India recorded 56,000 maternal deaths in 2012 thereby earning it the infamous top slot in this category. The infants who have lost their mother at birth often are deprived of mother's milk. This initiative by West Bengal government would only help the little ones to thrive until they can be put on other supplements.

Team M3 spoke to a lady who recounted her anguish after giving birth to a pre-term baby a few years ago in Kolkata. Since she was unable to breast feed the baby, it made the chances of survival for the weak newborn even slimmer. The baby was given breast milk that was procured from the other lactating mothers at the hospital. Their story had a happy ending; mother and child went home healthy. Of course it was only possible because of the precious donation.

In the wild, ferocious lionesses show an unusual tender side when they nurse the orphaned young cubs of the pride not just their own. They too understand mother's milk is the key to survival of young ones.

With the setting up of this Breast Milk Bank, the process of procurement will be more organized thus leaving precious little to chance - most of all precious lives.

All that remains now is for lactating mothers to come forward and make the donation. It would be pertinent to mention that only the excess milk is taken from the mothers and it is beneficial for the mother too, as frequent expression helps maintain lactation. Of course, its biggest advantage is that it promotes positive breastfeeding practices in the community.

Source: Team M3.tv

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