Breastmilk saves lives, a fact widely recognised all over the world.
Equally recognised is that there is no breastmilk substitute that provides the nutrition, protection and other benefits that breastmilk does.
Breastmilk banks, or human milk banks, therefore play a vital role by supplying safe, screened, donated breastmilk to babies whose mothers are unable to meet their need for breastmilk.
According to the World Health Organization, pasteurised human milk from screened donors provides the next best alternative to mother’s own breast milk.
Premature and sick infants are most at risk of serious infections and complications should they not receive breastmilk.
When a vulnerable baby’s own mother is unable to supply breastmilk, a breast milk bank can safely offer this life-saving gift from another mother.
Breast milk is particularly beneficial in protecting against necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a serious and often fatal disease for premature babies – the very babies most prone to it.
It is possible for any institution, large or small, public or private, to set up its own milk bank.