Human Milk Bank: Milk for high risk infants

The primary aim of milk banking is to supply human milk to high risk infants who, for some reason or the other, cannot be directly breast fed.

Human Milk Bank

Human Milk Bank [Illustration by Shinod AP]

The best way to collect milk for the bank is by manual expression into a clean container. It is less likely to be contaminated than that collected by a hand pump even if the pump used is completely sterilised. One should make sure that even the first 5 to 10 ml. is not wasted. Especially if the milk being collected is the early milk which contains colostrum. Since the amount of colostrum secreted is very less and of very high value to the infant. It is better to not waste any of it.

It is also important to note that the type of container used for collecting milk affects its immunological properties. Polyprolylene plastic containers may have a significant advantage in maintaining the stability of all constituents in human milk. Besides, it is safer and easier to handle.

A milk bank need not have sophisticated equipment to collect milk. It can actually be created with only a refrigerator and a donor in order to ensure immediate supply to the infant.

Human milk stored at room temperature yields minimum bacterial growth even after 10 hours. This milk can be safely administered to a newborn.

Breast milk is especially useful for the premature infant. It protects the baby from gastro intestinal infections and enhances weight gain.

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