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Old trend on the up: Breast milk banks are booming
Not all mothers are fortunate to be able to feed their child with their own breast milk. A breast milk bank can help to provide the offspring with the nutritious meal. The need for breast milk is greater than the supply.
The healthiest meal for newborns
Breast milk is the "healthiest and best meal for newborns" due to its ingredients and tolerance, according to a current press release by the University Medical Center Greifswald. But the "Superfoood" is more than just food. Breast milk also offers "lifelong benefits, for example because it reduces the risk of later becoming overweight or diabetic," the experts continue. But not all mothers are fortunate to be able to feed their child with their own breast milk. A breast milk bank can help here.
Premature babies thrive better through breast milk
According to experts, premature babies thrive better if they receive the strange women instead of artificial milk. Various studies have indicated that premature babies who receive breast milk are less likely to develop intestinal, lung and eye infections. This also stimulates the mental development of the premature baby.
Breast milk banks have become popular again in recent years after there was a wave of closures in this area in the 1970s to 1990s. Last year, for example, the first West German breast milk bank for premature babies opened in Dortmund.
According to the European Milk Bank Association (Emba), there are currently 15 women's milk banks in Germany, including 13 in the new federal states. In 1959, 86 breast milk banks were still counted in Germany, 62 of them in the GDR.
The quality of the milk donated is closely monitored
Milk quality concerns appear to be unjustified. According to the announcement, breast milk donation is subject to the same strict criteria as blood donation. The quality of the donated milk is therefore checked extensively for viruses and bacteria before it is passed on to other infants.
"As with blood donation, we are dependent on the willingness of young women to donate, who cannot use all of their milk for their own children," explained Prof. Matthias Heckmann, head of the Department of Neonatology and Pediatric Intensive Care Medicine. "It would be very helpful, especially for our premature babies and sick babies, if our milk bank became better known and more women would support us with a donation." Because the need is greater than the supply.
Experts advise on hygienic requirements
The first “Milk Kitchen Conference” will take place at the Greifswald University Hospital on Wednesday, and experts from all over Germany are expected to exchange experiences. Among other things, advice is given on the hygienic requirements and the particular use of breast milk in the premature infant diet. (ad)