The initiative called Milk Bank, which has already been signed into law by the Chamber of Deputies of Misiones and even regulated by the provincial government, aims to have breast milk, which can be used to feed premature babies, especially. For now, the hospitals with neonatal hospitalization capacity have nursing facilities.
In dialogue with Misiones Online Tv, the pediatrician and breastfeeding reference in Misiones, Fanny Almeida, explained that there is already a law creating this bank, even regulated, unlike a previous law that had been approved in 2014. Currently it is awaiting its start-up, since the provincial Ministry of Health is aware of all the requirements and the instruments that are needed.
In the Posadas Neo Natal Maternity Hospital there is a sector that could be used for that, a site that since the beginning of the construction project of that hospital, remained as a registered area for the Milk Bank. Part of that site is now used for what is the lactario, or breastfeeding center, which is what works in hospitals that have neonatal maternity hospitalization.
In Argentina there are already about nine milk banks, and the tenth is about to be inaugurated, the closest ones are in Corrientes and Chaco. “As human milk has living cells, in order for it to be donated, a law is needed, that is why it cost, It is an act of love, where a mother who has a lot of milk, (can not leave her baby without milk) donates the surplus . And that became important especially as prematurity gained ground,” said Fanny.
The doctor indicated that boys of 24 weeks of gestation are currently hospitalized. And that every drink under 32 weeks or 1.5 kilos of weight, should be fed, not with cow’s milk, but milk of their own gender. That’s because the baby has to finish developing.
How will the milk bank work?
A mother will first have to sign up, she will be asked for certain tests, which are the ones required for all pregnant women. Then once she donates her milk, the liquid is refrigerated and studied. It does not go directly to feed another baby, but is previously analyzed with biochemicals, to determine if it does not have bacteria or other components that may be altered. It has to be a safe milk, and when it is determined to be totally safe, it is re-refrigerated and ready for use.
How the neonatal maternal lactation currently works
For her part, Nélida Aguirre, a graduate in nursing, who is in charge of the nursing staff at the Posadas Neo Natal Maternal Hospital, said that in that sector they capture mothers and help them. “There we have the mother who has excess milk, which we take out, and we teach how to express herself. But we still don’t use it for the milk bank, but for now it is refrigerated and that milk will be for the child of that same mother, later on. She is taught to perform a manual expression, in addition to having five electric machines to express milk. On the other hand, we have a lactation clinic, where pregnant mothers or mothers with difficulties in breastfeeding also visit us. People need to know that the hospital has that place to get help.”
Almeida assured that when it is fully operational, any mother will be able to donate at the milk bank. And it will be provincial so that other neo from the interior will also be able to access milk.
“Those moms who have a lot of milk and don’t know how to express it manually, in the office they are taught how to express it and tomorrow they will also be able to donate it. In addition, this process helps women improve their health, because she had mastitis, then passed to congestion and then to breast abscesses. And the breast is a sexual organ so it has many nerve endings and therefore it is very painful”.
Finally, the doctor stressed that breast milk should be the exclusive food of babies up to six months. After that, up to two years or more, it is something that will be defined by the binomial mother/son/daughter. One of the benefits of breastfeeding for the mother is the decrease in the chances of contracting breast and uterine cancer, in addition to controlling her weight, since the mother recovers her weight faster.