Breastfeeding decreases the risk of various infections, asthma, diabetes and even some cancers. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding of newborns for about six months. However, mothers of very premature babies encounter unique barriers that make breastfeeding challenging.
Research has shown that feeding these babies human milk improves development and decreases rates of life-threatening conditions. According to the AAP, the benefits of human milk to these preemies are so potent that when a mother’s own milk is unavailable, pasteurized human donor milk should be used.
UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital currently uses donor milk from Texas for its premature babies. The Human Milk Banking Association of North America has been working on its first Florida milk bank since 2011 and will finally be opening its doors soon.
For breastfeeding mothers saving excess milk, breastmilk donation is one of the most beautiful and selfless acts you could do. For more information, please visit www.milkbankofflorida.org.
Dr. Cecile Ewane Besingi,