CiaoLapo participated in the European Congress of Donated Human Milk Banks, held in October 2019 in the beautiful city of Turin.
Reportage by Barbara Gasparin, perinatal nurse and volunteer of CiaoLapo, who participated in representation of all the families of the association.
The Donated Human Milk Banks are “banks” that collect the milk donated by mothers who have a production of milk higher than that required by their child and who choose to donate it to those children who for various personal or maternal clinical problems (prematurity , gastrointestinal or metabolic diseases, infectious diseases, insufficient production of breast milk …) they cannot get enough breast milk.
It was very exciting to listen to professionals who came from different parts of Europe and beyond (some speakers came from India, Kenya, Canada and the United States), with different cultures and languages and to see how everyone was interested in a single goal: to promote and support breastfeeding, using the breast milk donated as a bridge for those mothers who, for various reasons, cannot partially or totally fulfill the breastfeeding of their baby.
The first session dealt with the wonders of human milk, describing how the oligosaccharides present in breast milk have a positive impact on the microbiota of infants who receive it and how this positively affects their outcomes, and not only: in Sweden a study (HAMLET) was carried out on the potential of breast milk treated as a possible therapy for bladder cancer, of the gastrointestinal tract and brain tumor.
The second session was more focused on the use of human milk for premature babies and on the beneficial effects of the same in terms of reduction of infections and diseases, reduction of hospitalization days and positive effects on growth and development even in the long term as well as on the beneficial effects of breastfeeding for the reduction of maternal stress.
The other reports were more specific and technical on the management of the donated human milk banks: management of infections, choice of the type of pasteurization, milk fortification, comparison between the activities carried out by the various milk banks.
The latest scientific evidence was presented regarding the evaluation of new mothers to be enrolled for the donation and, certainly, the economic impact that the Milk Banks have on the health system.
The reports involved not only the professionals of the sector (doctors, nurses, midwives, technicians, nutritionists …) but also the parents , the real protagonists of the whole process.
For example, in India, the promotion of breastfeeding and the creation of peer groups to support it have made it possible to decrease infant mortality and increase not only the number of breastfed infants, but also of milk available to less children. lucky.
Healthy moms can donate their excess milk.
Mothers affected by perinatal bereavement who meet the required health criteria can donate their milk like any other woman if they wish.
For further information on this sensitive issue, you can read our information leaflet on managing the postnatal period after a loss.