If we have blood banks, why can’t we have milk banks as well? That’s exactly what the launching of the first human milk bank in the Philippines is all about. Some 200 mothers in Makati, Metro Manila lined up in Guadalupe Nueva barangay hall to donate milk for babies whose mothers are unable to give them. The collected milk will be sent to Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila where a pasteurization machine and freezers are available to preserve milk up to 6 months. ABS-CBN (08/15/08)
The human milk donation project supports Bill 1696 called Expanded Breastfeeding Act,” which encourages the founding of lactation areas in government offices, public and private places to help mothers continue breastfeeding after they resume work after delivery.
“By the beginning of the twenty-first century, human milk feeding was once again the recommended method of infant feeding. Experts recommend breastfeeding exclusively for six months and the introduction of age appropriate foods with breast milk to remain in the diet for two years and beyond. When maternal milk is inadequate or lacking particularly for high risk or premature infants pasteurized donor milk is the next best option. Donor milk banking plays an important role in meeting these recommendations.” —Human Milk Banking Association of North America
The idea of donating milk is a good one. Yet, just like blood, it has safety concerns that must be addressed. Human milk is perishable and care must be followed to keep it fresh while preventing it from spoiling. Since human milk has the potential to transmit diseases and carry maternal medications that can be harmful to the babies, screening of donors by interviews, physical examinations, and laboratory tests are needed.
Newborns particularly those who are born premature, don’t have fully developed disease-fighting immune systems, making them susceptible to milk-borne illnesses. Therefore, there must be standards and safety guidelines to follow for both milk donors and recipients. Taking safety as a priority, the collection, milk-shedding campaign, storage, processing, preservation, and distribution of donated milk must be monitored and regulated. =0=
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