BreastMilk Foundation is a non-profit organization, in collaboration with Fortis La Femme which brings to the world of kids ‘Amaara’ – a human milk bank, a one of its kind project. The only human milk bank in Delhi NCR, ‘Breast Milk Foundation’ is primarily focused to provide donor milk to high risk newborns admitted in the neo-natal unit and to babies whose mother have lactation failure. An initiative which plans to give a fighting chance to pre-mature or growth restricted babies to live a full and healthy life. With million children needing breast milk, the organisation comes forward to address the issue in Delhi/NCR hoping to further the cause and its seriousness.
Breast Milk Foundation that collects donated human milk, safeguards it and keeps a check on the quality and makes it accessible to infants in need. The goal is to provide the neo-natal babies with the best possible nutrition for survival and healthy development.
Over 1.4 million children in India die under the age of five and around fifty per cent of them are under 28 days. Here this ‘liquid gold’ can be a life saver as it provides the infants and preemies with the nourishment they lack. Saving premature lives is the target we want to achieve and with the cooperation of the hospitals and donor mothers, it has been successful so far.
In the past one year, we have been able to reach out to more hospitals, neo-natal babies, and donor mothers. We are now affiliated with twenty hospitals, where 70 donor mothers have successfully donated human milk with around 3, 59,970 ML of milk being stored in our facilities and it has been made available to around 200 babies.
Amaara Breast Milk Foundation makes it convenient for the donor mothers to donate human milk from the comfort of their homes. At Amaara (Fortis Le Femme), the milk is collected from the donor’s home. The lactating mothers are encouraged to donate their milk to support and promote the cause of the struggling babies.
Once collected the milk is safely pasteurised through these steps which initiates with scrubbing before handling the milk; transferring the mother’s milk from original container to glass flasks; followed by mixing and pooling to ensure even distribution of human milk components. After this, and prior to pasteurisation, the milk is poured into bottles of 130ml or 230ml. Once done, the human milk is examined for the nutrient content and other essential vitamins and minerals. Immediately later human milk samples are taken during the pasteurization process and cultured to check for bacterial growth, while any contaminated human milk is rejected. The Pasteurized Donor Human milk (PDHM) is then carefully frozen and stored. It can be distributed after samples are cultured and show no bacteria growth. PDHM is shipped frozen overnight to hospitals.
While human milk banks have multiplied worldwide in numbers India is still in a grave need to spread more awareness on the issue as it finds an insufficient number -14 milk banks to cater to the needs of preemies in the nation. It also needs to help reduce the use of infant formula solutions in health facilities and others, by encouraging more and more women to breastfeed and if not, to go for a safer alternative for their infants — pasteurized donor milk facilitated by ‘Human milk Banks’.
We at Amaara Milk Bank, therefore urge more and more mothers to donate if experiencing a surplus of expressed milk in order to help preemies and highly risk infants, and not disposing off the milk as waste. The donation at the foundation is not done in any monetary terms, but only through milk. Since, highly-risk new-borns are the most vulnerable to the diseases, breast milk caters to their needs and has great immunological properties due to the antibodies which protect them from various diseases and infections. Thus, the initiative could only grow with the possible support from more lactating mothers.