These mothers donate their milk to save the lives of other babies

At times, mothers are not able to produce milk soon after delivery. In such cases, milk banks come to their rescue. Many new-mothers also donate milk voluntarily to help other mothers who might need help

Arvind ShuklaArvind Shukla   26 Oct 2019 8:05 AM GMT

These mothers donate their milk to save the lives of other babies

"My baby was given birth surgically. For three days, I couldn't feed him. It was the milk bank that came to my rescue. Whosoever donated that milk, it gave my son a new life," said Parul, 25, who lives in Dabok in Udaipur – well-known for the first-ever milk bank in India.

Parul, after giving birth to her baby, couldn't feed her breast milk to the newborn. Now, to help others, she donates her breast milk twice a day at the Divya Mother Milk Bank set up in Panna Dhai Rajkiya Mahila Chikitsalaya in Udaipur. "I donate my milk here so that other kids like my son may get milk," said Parul.

When Gaon Connection reporter was interviewing Parul, there were many mothers donating breast milk in the bank. Women who have given birth two-ten days back can donate their milk. The donated milk is given to infants at the Neonatal intensive care unit of the hospital. It is also given to the infants who were given birth through In vitro fertilization (IVF).

The milk bank helped the couple in providing breast milk for their newborns.

Couples from nearby states come here

A couple from Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh came to this milk bank to take two bottles of breast milk. 58-year-old Sevaram and his wife recently had their baby with the help of IVF. Sevaram's wife had trouble feeding breast milk to her baby. The milk bank helped the couple in providing breast milk for their newborns.

Manorama Dharani, the central manager in Divya Mother Milk bank, told Gaon Connection that after delivery, a mother experiences many hormonal changes. Sooner or later, all of them start giving milk, but it is challenging for an elderly mother and women who become mothers through IVF to produce milk.

Pratibha, who lives in Neemuch district in Madhya Pradesh, told Gaon Connection that she recently gave birth to a child, but it was challenging for her to produce milk. But then she started taking milk from the milk bank regularly.

"Many times, we have to keep the newborn in the hospital, but we discharge the mother. We provide milk from a milk bank to these mothers and also train them. They start giving milk after a few days of training," added Manorama.

The first mother milk bank in Rajasthan was established by a non-profit organization Mahesh Ashram -- run by Ma Bhagwati Vikas Sansthan in 2012.

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Yog Guru Devendra Agarwal, the founder of Mahesh Ashram, said: "Our orphanage is as good as any five-star hotel. The doctors are available 24X7. Despite that, many infants would remain sick. When I asked doctors they said 'we had all the facilities, but not the mother's milk. This is why they lack immunity and fall sick.'"

Thereafter, Devendra wrote to the government regarding setting up a mother's milk bank in a medical college in Udaipur. He researched the medical benefits of breast milk and identified countries where these milk banks have been set up.

"Brazil has the largest milk bank. We tried to understand how a woman is selected for donating milk and how that can milk be stored. In our country, of 100 infants, we can save the lives of 40 by feeding them mother's milk. These kids have a tendency to suffer from diarrhoea, pneumonia, jaundice and many other severe diseases," said Devendra.

Twenty-two milk banks set up in Rajasthan makes it the leading state with the maximum number of breast milk banks across the country, followed by Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. It forms the biggest mother milk chain in Asia.

"The government has been helping in this scheme from the very beginning. In Lok Sabha, the budget was also passed for milk banks in 2016. Budget for 10 milk banks in the first year and seven milk banks in the following year were passed. Thereafter, the centre after recognizing milk bank's success worked on setting up five such units in Rajasthan. Twenty-two milk banks are functioning in the state so far. This is Asia's first biggest milk chain," said Devendra.

A newborn must always be given a mother's milk soon after the delivery, say doctors.

Hundreds of liters of breast milk is kept safe for many months here. Breast milk protects newborns from disease attack and also prevents them from sudden early deaths.

Manorama Darani, central manager, Divya Mother Milk bank, said: "Nearly 50-60 women come here to donate milk every day. We explain the benefits of donating breast milk to women who give birth here in this hospital. This donated milk not only saves the lives of those newborns who lose their mothers but also helps providing milk to mothers who are unable to produce milk."

In Rajasthan's milk bank, precautions are taken into consideration when milk is taken from mothers. Donors have to undergo many tests such as blood tests before donating milk. Manorma Darani, said: "Medical and lifestyle histories of women who come to donate milk is first checked. We check if they do not suffer from any serious disease. If anything negative is reported, we don't take her milk."

A mother's milk is called as an Amrita (elixir). A newborn must always be given a mother's milk soon after the delivery, say doctors. To promote breastfeeding and improve the health of the newborns, World Breastfeeding Week -- August 1-7 -- is celebrated across the world.

Breastfeeding benefits both the mother and the newborn, both mentally, and physically. "Mother's milk balances the body temperature of the newborn. It gives the newborn essential nutrients. It develops immunity. Besides all these benefits to the newborn, pumping out milk helps the mother remain fit and healthy. It also curbs the added fat in the body," added Manorama.

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