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When breast milk banks become an alternative

Editorial

When breast milk banks become an alternative

Inside the Beehive with Isa SSenkumba

Breast feeding Mother

Breast feeding Mother

Today we are not only too busy to feed our own babies but also have health complications that make us unable to breast feed our babies. But thanks to science and technology, because there seems to be a solution to every problem.  If you can’t breast feed your own child, for any reason, you need not to worry. This has been handled.

The optimum nutrition for newborn infants is breastfeeding, if possible, for the first year. But there are cases when mothers that cannot supply their own breast milk to their child, for reasons such as a baby being at risk of getting diseases and infections from a mother with certain diseases or when a child is hospitalized at birth due to very low birth weight and the mother cannot provide her own milk during the extended stay for reasons such as living far from the hospital.

It is because of this that human breast milk banks now exist. A human milk bank or breast milk bank is a service which collects, screens, processes, and dispenses by prescription human milk donated by nursing mothers who are not biologically related to the recipient infant.  True, it sounds weird that a baby can be fed on milk that is not its mother’s, and also that there are people ready to donate milk for babies, who are not their own, to feed. But this is not any different from the way we donate blood and other human organs simply to save lives of other people in need.

Brazil has an extensive network of 217 milk banks, and is considered to have the most cost efficient system of milk banking in the world. You should also know that since the inception of the first milk bank in 1985, the infant mortality rate in Brazil has dropped 73% due, in part, to the popularization of milk banks. In 2011, 165,000 liters of breast milk were donated by some 166,000 mothers, and provided to nearly 170,000 babies.

Every woman would love to breast feed their babies, at least to enjoy that affection with their babies putting other benefits aside.  Babies have a powerful sense of smell and can identify their mother’s breast milk by scent. Secondly breast feeding reduces the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer in mothers. Actually humans are the only species that continue to consume milk and milk products after being weaned. Even though there is little evidence to support its effectiveness, some people use breast milk to treat cancer, digestive orders, and immune disorders.

There are theories, however, that scare parents from subjecting their children to breast milk from donors. Whatever the case, measures have been put in place to ensure that the milk is screened before given to babies.

So there is no need to fear after all the Prophet of Islam Muhammad (SAW) one of the greatest influencers of human history also grew up on milk which was not his mothers yet it never dettered him from becoming the greatest man of all times.

 

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