Breast Milk Donation In India: What You Need To Know
Breastfeeding is a very healthy practice. Besides providing the perfect nutrition for the baby, it also contains antibodies that help the baby fight off various forms of bacteria and virus, thereby keeping them healthy.
However, there are many babies who can't feed due to multiple reasons such as, the mother's inability to produce breast milk or if the baby was born prematurely. This is where breast milk donation comes into the picture.
Read on to find out more about breast milk donation and its existence in India.
What is a Breast Milk Bank?
Just like a blood bank supplies blood to people who require it, breast milk banks were started with the similar aim of providing breast milk to babies who need it. While this is quite an ancient practice, it has only picked up the pace in India recently and has been a regular occurrence in a few cities such as Delhi and Bangalore.
Some cases where breast milk donation banks come in handy are when a baby:
- is born pre-term.
- is suffering from malnutrition or other ailments.
- loses its mother soon after it is born.
- has a mother who is unable to breastfeed.
- requires more milk than the mother can produce.
How Does Breast Milk Donation Work?
If you would like to donate your breast milk or know someone who does, then the first step is to contact any of the breast milk banks surrounding your area. They will provide you with sterilised bottles which you can store in your house and fill the breast milk in.
Once you inform the concerned authorities, someone from the bank will come to your doorstep to collect the filled bottles. Alternatively, you can also opt to physically visit these banks and submit the bottles directly. Breast milk donation is a simple, useful, and efficient system.
Is It Safe?
Breast milk, once collected by banks, is preserved very carefully. It is collected from various donors and is kept sterilised till required. This milk undergoes the process of pasteurisation and is kept in rooms with low temperatures to avoid spoilage.
Further, every breast milk donor is screened to ensure that they are healthy and eligible to donate. This includes checking for smoking or drinking habits, ensuring that they are not on long-term medication, and verifying whether they are carrying any contagious infections or diseases.
In India, breast milk banks are not as widely used as they should be. Many women do not step up as donors because breast milk donation is considered taboo in a few parts of the country. Similarly, a lot of parents are reluctant to feed their baby with a stranger's breast milk even when it is required. This social stigma is diminishing both, the demand and supply of breast milk within these banks.
However, as the well-being of the baby always comes first, nourishing mothers must try to contribute any way they can. Remember that this good deed on your part can help an infant grow to live a happy and healthy life. So, celebrate the beauty of motherhood by lending your helping hand. At the end of it, you will feel wonderful too!