Sharada Human Milk Bank (NICU RMH)
First of its kind in South Bangalore, Sharada Human Milk Bank is a non-profitable venture and focusses to help pre-terms and very low birth weight babies. .
Human milk banks collect milk from mothers, screen, store, process and distribute donor human milk (DHM) to be fed to another mothers small baby.
The babies benefited by DHM are all premature babies, extremely low birth weight babies (less than 1000gms), babies who have undergone intestinal surgeries, babies recovering from intestinal ulcers, sick babies, and babies who have unfortunately lost their mothers.
The benefits of use of breast milk versus formula in treating these tiny babies are manifold. Reduced Risks of NEC (here surgery for intestinal disease can be avoided) ROP ( Eye vessel disease with risk of blindness), infections, reduced duration of IV nutrition and stay in ICU, and better neurodevelopmental outcome (better brain growth) Any healthy Breast feeding mother can donate. We have criteria for accepting donors, detailed information and simple rules of consent will be shared with volunteers.
Donors are not paid! No incentives given. It is purely a voluntary act that comes from a large heart. The recipient may be charged a nominal amount that would go towards maintaining and care of milk bank.
What happens in the milk bank?
- Donor recruitment
- Donor screening
- Collection of milk
- Pooling of milk
- Pasteurisation to sterilise
- Post pasteurisation culture to confirm sterilisation
- Maintenance of records
- Steps for donation
Any happy healthy mother can donate. After washing hands, she can express BM directly or with the help of breast pump into a clean steel container that can be closed with a lid. Aliquots of 30-100 ml can be expressed at a time into the container and closed and placed in the freezer of the home refrigerator.
Throughout the day and over the next three to four days, more expressed milk can be added to the same container and put to freeze.
When the capacity is 250-300 ml or more it can be sent to the NICU in an ice box. There is an opportunity to request for pick-up of the milk, if distance is practical, to the hospital. The container will be returned to the mother. Regular long term donors will be given ready steel containers of 130-150 ml capacity. Even 100 ml donors are welcome.
A mother can start donating as early as she wishes. It is a known fact that breast milk is augmented by frequent expression.
Mothers, as old as one year into breast feeding are donating milk to the milk bank. Lactation counsellors are on hand in the hospital to help in need.