The demand for human milk has increased. Doctors say there is a need for mother donors.
The demand for human milk is increasing in the city; however the supply is very less. Currently, Bangalore has only one human milk bank.
Sadaf Hussain, who recently delivered her baby a while ago said, “I was recovering from a stressful premature delivery when my doctors informed me that I wasn’t producing enough milk. My doctor informed me about Fortis La Femme Hospital. I have fed my baby with Amaara’s milk for a quite longer time. We nearly spent Rs 200 per bottle. It made my baby healthy.”
Amaara Milk Foundation has supplied breast milk to over 38 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Hospitals in Bangalore in the past one year. Amaara Milk Bank was able to collect more than three lakh ml of milk since its launch in 2017. They have had 72 donor mothers. And until now 198 babies benefitted from this.
Dr. Kaushik K N Medical Superintendent at Fortis La Femme raised concerns, “We have been having a lot of shortage of the milk. The demand is a lot and the supply is very low. Our supply is of 170 babies at a time; however, we have only 50 to 60 donors.”
Preterm babies require breast milk as they are not fully grown and weak. A World Health Organization (WHO) report showed that, India has the highest number of preterm babies in the world.
Doctors say breast milk is the best milk for the babies; cow’s milk cannot be given as it has a lot of protein which the baby cannot digest because their digestive system is not developed yet. Of the 1,500 births in Vani Vilas Hospital every month, 30 to 40 per cent births are preterm. This year the hospital attributed that, nearly 200 babies require milk from the Milk Bank.
There are only 10 milk banks in India mostly in the Metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore. Doctors say more human milk banks should be built as the need for it mainly comes from the government hospitals.
Dr.Vinod M, a pediatrician explained the solution, “The solution to match the demand and supply of human milk could be the awareness of the advantages. Showing bottled breast is considered taboo amidst people in India and that should be gone. It should be made aware through social and mass media. We need to encourage more mothers to donate.”
Milk banks not only cater to the need of children who are born premature, but it also caters to orphans, mothers with surgical complications, twins and triplets, and especially mother’s whose supply is insufficient.