Students at Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, decided to set up human milk banks dispensing human breast milk. The bank named ATM kicked-off its service last week with an aim to nourish and save premature babies born at the institute. The milk bank is all set to guide and advice and offer counselling to new mothers on breastfeeding as well.
ATM stands for Amudham Thaippal Maiyam, Amudham
means nectar in Tamil, Thaippal
stands for breastfeeding and Maiyam
means centre or an institute.
‘Amudham Thaippal Maiyam (ATM), a motherís milk bank has been set up in Puducherry with an aim of dispensing breast milk to nourish and save preterm babies. This will also be helpful in instances where the mother suffers from lactating issues, postpartum illness or ailments like HIV, Hepatitis C or B, or fungal nipple infection, and the baby is deprived of human milk.’
According to Mr. Subhash Chandra Parija, Director, JIPMER, close to 1,500 babies are born in JIPMER every month, with about 30% of them born either before term or with a low birth weight. This is an attempt to take care of such babies who need additional care and nourishment. "Mother's milk is extremely important for the newborn. There are many instances where the newborn is not able to get milk from the mother. When the mother suffers from lactating issues, postpartum illness or ailments like HIV, Hepatitis C or B, or fungal nipple infection, the baby suffers for the lack of human milk. The machines are set up with the aim to serve such infants," noted Mr. Parija.
All healthy lactating mothers with healthy babies, who are voluntarily willing to give their extra breast milk for other babies without compromising the nutritional needs of their own baby, can donate milk. The donors can include mothers attending baby clinics, mothers whose babies are in neonatal intensive care units, those who have lost their babies, but are willing to donate their milk, or lactating working staff in the hospital, and motivated mothers from the community. A donor using illegal drugs, tobacco products, alcohol or HIV positive cannot donate milk. The procured milk is pasteurised at 63.5 degree C for 35 minutes followed by other processes as per the Pasteurized Human Donor Milk (PHDM) guidelines. The milk supply could vary anywhere between 200 to 400 ml per donor.
Such banks must be set up in all NICU facilities considering the complications associated with formula feeding of underweight and tiny preterm babies who cannot be breastfed till they are six months old. "If mother's milk is unavailable or insufficient, the next option is to use pasteurized donor human milk," Mr. Parija added.