News

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Nearly 300 infants received donated breast milk in 2013

  • Over 360 mothers donated milk, up 80% from the previous year
  • Estimates indicate that twice as many donor mothers will be required to meet the needs of the very premature infant population 
  • The Human Milk Bank of Catalonia of the Banc de Sang i Teixits already distributes milk to 12 different neonatal care units

Thanks to the milk donated by 361 nursing mothers, the Human Milk Bank of the Banc de Sang i Teixits (Blood and Tissue Bank, BST) was able to provide sustenance for 272 very premature infants in 2013. The 1,221 litres of milk given by these mothers met the nutritional needs of babies in neonatal units at 12 different Catalan hospitals.

Even so, in 2014 the need for donor mothers will be even greater, as more and more centres are choosing to use donated breast milk in light of its health benefits for premature infants.

Right now, there are approximately fifty active donor mothers who are saving tiny lives with their generous gifts. A mother can be a donor for as long as she likes, provided that she is still nursing her own child. On average, each mother donates 3 litres of milk.

In 2012,136 newborns received nourishment through the altruistic efforts of 203 mothers. This means that, over the past year, the programme benefited practically the same number of babies as it did during the two previous years combined.

The Bank takes root

The Human Milk Bank is a service provided by the BST that collects breast milk from nursing donor mothers. The milk is then processed according to strict quality and safety standards and stored to ensure that very premature babies who cannot be breastfed by their mothers will still receive the benefits of human milk.

The human milk kept at the bank is primarily reserved for very premature infants-in other words, those weighing less than one and a half kilos at birth or born at 32 weeks or less. It is also recommended for premature babies at risk of developing digestive or intestinal pathologies or immunodeficiencies. Moreover, human milk is often given to infants who have undergone digestive tract surgery, as it is easier to digest and facilitates intestinal recovery.

A diet of breast milk reduces the risk of serious widespread infection and intestinal necrosis.

The human milk stored at the bank is always dispensed by medical prescription in a hospital environment.

At the BST headquarters, the Human Milk Bank receives, stores, processes and supplies milk to guarantee its quality and availability in case of need.

Who can donate?

After giving birth, any mother who is able to nurse, has a milk supply in excess of her own child's needs and does not present any medical reason for exclusion is considered a potential milk donor.

In order to donate milk, you only have to meet a few basic requirements:

  • You must be nursing and have a milk supply in excess of your own child's needs
  • You must be in good health and lead a healthy lifestyle

Visit the website www.bancsang.net/en_banc-llet-materna/ for all the information you need to become a human milk donor.

Statistics by territory

The activity of the Human Milk Bank in 2014 was as follows:

 

Donor mothers

Donations in litres

Recipient infants

Barcelona

269

920

170

Tarragona

35

135

39

Lleida

20

66

13

Girona

37

100

50

TOTAL

361

1.221

272

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