Keeping in view the growing demand and importance of mothers’ milk banks, the Odisha government is seriously considering to set up two human milk banks in the State, one in Bhubaneswar and another in Cuttack.
The proposal was given by National Neonatology Forum of India (NNFI) to open milk bank in collaboration with an NGO where the new mothers can donate milk, infants can be provided free milk and mother’s milk can be preserved upto one month.
The mothers’ milk bank will be opened after discussing with the government, said Dr Asutosh Mohapatra, paediatrician, Capital Hospital, Bhubaneswar. There are total 20 milk banks operating across the country. The first bank was opened in Pune to preserve mother’s milk, Mohapatra said.
Since breastfeeding and donated milk can reduce infant mortality considerably, milk banks are proved to be a boon for pre-term babies whose mothers don’t usually have milk for the first 2-3 days of the delivery. In such cases, human milk is better than formula or cow milk.
The human milk also helps mothers who are ill and can’t breastfeed or having any other problems, those on medication, babies with life-threatening diseases and multiple births where the mothers don’t have enough milk to feed the newborns.
The new mothers can donate excessive milk to the bank by collecting milk through pumping machine at home. The milk will be tested before preserving it in the bank. The milk will be helpful for those new mothers to provide mother’s milk to their newborns.