Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mothers Milk

I just came across this great organisation promoting the use of Human milk banking in New Zealand.
From their website: Donated breast milk is invaluable for babies in newborn intensive care (NICU), because it is their best source of nourishment and provides unique protection from infections. Premature babies fed breast milk are six times less likely to suffer a life threatening gastro-intestinal condition called necrotising enterocolitis.

On Christmas Day 2000 my own baby was born with a rare intestinal condition. She was full term but was unable to digest any food. In the hopes that one day she would be able to absorb I religiously expressed breast milk while she was in the NICU.
What I discovered was that as the mother of a full term infant I had tons of milk, my supply was not a problem, however, my baby would never get that milk. I also discovered that most of the mothers with premature babies did not have good milk supplies.
Here I was with excess milk and no baby to drink it and these tiny babies desperately needing breast milk which their frantic mothers could not supply.
I was not allowed to donate any of my breast milk and after three months an entire freezer full was discarded.
I think by having a human breast milk bank in New Zealand gives mothers the option to use it or not. It also means that for mothers like myself our efforts would not have been in vein.
There is a huge story in the US at the moment called Feeding Mosses. where 25 women took turns to breastfeed the baby after his mother died. This story has prompted a lot of discussion on breast milk banking.
I truly think the choice to use donated breast milk is up to the individual but at the moment we do not have the choice.

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