On the occasion of World Breastfeeding Week, the Rainbow Group of Hospitals opened a “Mother’s Milk Bank” at its premises in Banjara Hills on Wednesday. Mother’s milk bank plays a crucial role in providing human milk to infants who are unable to receive their own mother’s milk. The largest group of recipients is premature infants who derive substantial benefits from it. Human milk protects premature infants from Necrotizing Enterocolitis and from Sepsis, two devastating medical conditions. Tennis star and new mommy Sania Mirza inaugurated the facility.
Dr Pranati Reddy, HoD, Obstetrics and Gynec, Birthright, said that milk banks started by Rainbow Group of Hospitals collect, screen, store, process and distribute human milk. Donating women usually nurse their own infants and have a milk supply that exceeds their own infant’s needs. Donor women are carefully selected and are screened for HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and Syphilis.
“In the Milk Bank, handling, storing, processing, pooling and bacterial screening follow standardised algorithms, hygienic conditions, and stringent quality standards. The beneficial effects of donor milk remain significant and donor milk is highly preferable in comparison to formula milk.”
“As per WHO, increasing breastfeeding to near-universal levels could save more than 8,00,000 lives every year, the majority being children under six months. Breastfeeding decreases the risk of mothers developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It is estimated that increased breastfeeding could avert 20,000 maternal deaths each year due to breast cancer.
Essentially every mother can breastfeed. Due to some exceptional circumstances like postnatal depression, serious illness and hormonal changes, some mothers cannot produce enough milk. Traditionally such babies who do not have access to mother’s milk are given infant formula milk or cow’s milk. Such milk is not nutritious and also increases the risk of certain medical and surgical problems in neonates, especially preterm babies. It is for such babies that donor human milk is very important.
Dr Dinesh Chirla, Neonatologist and Director of ICU Services said, “Any healthy lactating mother can come and donate milk at our Milk Bank. The collected milk is pasteurised. Pasteurisation is a heat treatment process that eliminates harmful bacteria and viruses. The milk is then tested for any evidence of infection and later stored in a deep freezer for up to three months.
All aseptic precautions are taken while collecting, storing and feeding human milk”. The milk is given to babies who do not have access to their own mother’s milk. Dr Natasha Bagga, Dr Vijayanand, Dr Nalinikanth, Dr Bhargavi, and other hospital staff also participated in this programme.
As told by The New Indian Express