In the near future, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, will be home to its inaugural human milk bank. This lactarium is poised to gather, evaluate, treat, pasteurize, and allocate human milk to mothers in need.
This was announced by Ashok Goyal, founder president of Help Agra, an NGO providing affordable medicare to the citizens. Goyal said the milk will be donated by lactating mothers. Former president of the FOGSI, Dr. Narendra Malhotra said that human milk provided optimum nutritional support to newborns. It’s particularly useful at least for the first six months after birth.
Preservation and Benefits of Collected Mother’s Milk
Deepak Dave from Maharashtra, who successfully runs a network of such banks, said that the collected mother milk would be safe and usable for a year, kept at minus 20 degrees in the freezer. For immunity and growth of the child mother’s milk is the best support.
“A large number of mothers are not able to provide milk for their newborns for various reasons. This puts the child at a risk and stunts their growth,” Goyal said. The bank will become operational in three months. Mothers would be able to feed their children and collect supplies in hygienic pouches.
Before storing the collected milk, more than a dozen investigations would be carried out to ensure safety from bacteria that could be transferred by the donor. The stored pumped breast milk will require transfer to bags and then frozen for distribution. This bank will be a great relief for mothers who are afflicted with some chronic diseases and are not able to lactate. Globally, the demand for human milk has shown a rising trend.
In some societies adults suffering chronic health issues are also provided mother’s milk that is high in calories and easily digestible. The International Milk Banking Initiative, founded in 2005 lists more than 30 countries that offer this facility.
“The largest number of beneficiaries of this initiative would be premature babies with gastro disorders and metabolic issues. The mothers would have a choice either go for formula milk or natural mother’s milk stored at the bank,” Goyal said.