705 mothers donate milk Print
Sunday, 26 August 2018 17:07

by R.G ANTONET GO

Seven hundred five (705) healthy lactating mothers have donated their breast milk to the Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC) Human Milk Bank from the period of January to June, 2018.

Gwendolyn Orbecido of the ZCMC Human Milk Bank said these mothers have donated their milk at the hospital’s Obstetrics Ward, the barangay, and at the ZCMC Birthing Clinic.

Beneficiaries of the breast milk are the sick babies in the ZCMC Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and the NICU of private hospitals.

Sick and premature babies are at risk of gastrointestinal disease and infection. Often, their mothers are not able to supply their milk because they are under great stress or are ill themselves and providing these fragile infants with pasteurized human milk gives them a fighting chance on life.

Mothers who are interested to donate their milk must pass the following criteria: They must be in good health and be able to breastfeed, currently nursing a baby less than one year old, not using certain medications, negative for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Hepatitis B and C, and Syphilis, not using illegal drugs, non smoker, does not drink alcohol, and did not receive blood transfusion or organ transplant.

According to Orbecido, the collected milk from donors is kept frozen, once enough milk is available for pasteurization, the milk is thawed cultured, pooled, and poured into special bottles.

These bottles are heated at 62.5 degree Celsius using the holder method in a pasteurizer. The milk is then cooled to -20 degree Celsius. A sample of the pasteurized milk undergoes microbiological testing. Only pasteurized milk with negative microbiological test are dispensed.

Pasteurization ensures that human milk is safe. Some nutritional and immunological properties are destroyed by the process but pasteurized milk retains most of the anti-infective properties as fresh milk.

The ZCMC Human Milk Bank is the first outside Metro Manila. Milk banking is important to provide pasteurized donor milk to infants who do not have access to their mother’s own breast milk.

Human milk bank is the best nutrition option for babies. It provides unique benefits that cannot be duplicated by formula like antibodies to fight disease and infection and protection from allergies.

Breastfeeding is important as this will boost the baby’s immune system, it will strengthen the mother and child bond, and it will address the economic problem since there will be no need to buy commercial milk. (RGAAGo)