Milk is the only source of nutrition for infants and science has shown repeatedly that breast milk is incredibly beneficial for infants. Breast milk is one of the healthiest source of nutrients for a baby. Studies have shown that breastfed babies have much higher immunity, stronger bones, lower risk for obesity, celiac disease, type 1 diabetes etc. For premature babies who are struggling, breast milk could be lifesaving.
Breast milk contains proteins, fats, and vitamins A, D, E and K. These nutrients are essential for the infants’ health. The benefits for breastfeeding are endless for both the mother and the infant. Due to myriad reasons, not all mothers are able to breastfeed their child, but there is another way that all infants can benefit from breastfeeding.
Lactating mothers donate breast milk; the milk is then collected and then undergoes a pasteurization process and the analysis of essential micronutrient content is done. After the quality check, it is subsequently stored at low temperatures. There is a strict procedure to be followed, which involves assessment and thorough screening of the mother before the milk is collected.
Over 1.4 million children in India die under the age of five and almost fifty percent of those cases are babies under 28 days and this ‘liquid gold’ can save infants at the NICU. Human milk banks are a proven way to save babies. These banks offer families a shot at saving their child and providing their infant with a chance of a healthy life.
While Milk banks are widely found in the world, it has now come to India as well, Breast Milk Foundation, a non- profit organization in collaboration with Fortis La Femme started ‘Amaara’, the first pasteurized milk bank in the capital. While this is a new concept in India, it is definitely one that needs to be bolstered. Milk banks save lives of several premature and sick neonates.