The month of August is celebrated as National Breastfeeding Awareness Month by the United States Breastfeeding Committee. According to World Health Organization, here are some of the goals proposed to meet by 2025. It states that globally only 38% of the infants worldwide are exclusively breastfed. For the goal to reach, it is essential that the mothers in this process are aided and educated about the importance of breastfeeding the newborn. Stay-at-home moms are at an advantage and are found to breastfeed their children more conveniently than their working counterparts. WHO also came up with a series of factsheets about how employers and coworkers can help the young mom in feeding her child the essential first food.
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What Employers Can Do:
- Respect National Laws on paid Maternity leave
- Provide Place and Time to express Breast Milk
- Provide helpful options for mothers such as onsite child care, flexible work schedules, part-time work etc
What Law Makers Can Do:
- Ensuring minimum 4 months of Paid Maternity Leave (The Govt of India has proposed a 6 month paid maternity leave in the private sector)
- Prevent discrimination against women and mothers in the workplace
What Co-workers Can Do:
- Be supportive of the mother who needs time and flexibility to breastfeed
- Encourage new mothers with a positive accepting attitude
- Recognise that the months after having baby are special
Breast Milk Banks:
In the event of unfortunate circumstances where the mother is unable to feed the newborn, or in cases such as preterm babies or children who do not have biological mothers, it is essential that they are not deprived of the vital nutrients that a breast milk can provide. To satiate these needs, there are Breast Milk Banks across the world. It is a service, usually attached to a nursery or a hospital, that collects, screens and stores the human milk from healthy lactating mothers to provide them to babies who are not biologically related to these donors. Experts call the human milk, “liquid gold” for the storehouse of good health and vital nutrients that the milk possess.
The world leader in Breast Milk Banks is Brazil. More than 200 Human Milk banks across the country that has eventually helped a 73% decline in infant mortality rate. In a country like India which has the highest number of preterm births in the world, these Breast Milk Banks are a great way to reduce infant mortality rates and aids in giving the new-borns a much needed healthy start to life.
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It is a process in which the expressed breast milk from donors (healthy new moms, free of any medication or alcohol) is sterilized, checked for bacterial growth and stored under definite cold conditions (-20 deg) and then transported to the recipient.
The world’s first human milk bank was set up in Vienna, Austria in 1911. The first Asian country to set up a breast milk bank was India, way back in 1989 (Lokmanya Tilak Hospital, Mumbai).
List of Breastmilk Banks in India:
- Amara Milk Bank (In collaboration with Fortis la Femme), Greater Kailash, New Delhi
- Lokamanya Tilak Hospital (Sion Hospital), Sion, Mumbai
- Cama Hospital, Fort, Mumbai
- KEM Hospital, Parel, Mumbai
- Sir JJ Group of Hospitals, Byculla, Mumbai
- Divya Mother Milk Bank, Udaipur, Rajasthan
- Dheenanath Mangeshkar Hospital and Research Centre, Pune
- SSKM Hospital, Kolkata
- Institute of Child Health, Egmore, Chennai
- Vijaya Hospital, Chennai
Pic courtesy: timesofindia