Milk banks good for patient safety

On April 26 2010, a member of Toronto Needs A Milk Bank! writes:
Ontario Milk Bank is working on this...I believe they have narrowed it down from 3 to 2 hospitals....
The writer belongs to Cambridge Community Breast Feeding Group. Look forward to updates or news. In 2007, a NICU mom linked milk banks to improved patient safety.
My daughter just spent three months in the NICU at Mt Sinai and Sick Kids. In both hospitals errors occurred with milk handling. Milk needs to be screened as blood products are. A central milk bank would help to make this happen.

Inside Canada's only breast milk bank (Jan/Feb 2010) relays that "Women from coast to coast are donating to, or using, the breast milk bank at BC Women’s Hospital in Vancouver."

"Until the late 1970s, there were more than 20 milk banks across Canada. But in the 1980s, they struggled to stay open amid fears about the risk of transmission of AIDS/HIV through breast milk.

The BC Women’s Milk Bank is the only one to have survived, and it continues to use a strict screening process. In 2008, more than 100 women donated about 1,000 litres of milk, which were processed and given to about 1,100 children across the country. (Even after pasteurization and freezing, the milk is known to retain most of its healthy properties.)"

The INFACT Canada link at Cambrige Community offers a detailed overview of milk banks with some international information as well as this historical nugget:

"While most Canadians are familiar with the story of the Dionne Quintuplets, few people know that they owe their early survival to donated breastmilk. When the five little girls were born on May 28th, 1934, no one expected them to survive. Herman Bundeson, a renowned Chicago physician and expert on premature infants, telephoned Dr. Dafoe, the Ontario doctor who had delivered the quints, and offered to provide an incubator and donated breastmilk - two things he believed critical to the babies' survival. Within 52 hours of the quint's birth, the first shipment of donated milk arrived. In Toronto, members of the Junior League responded by collecting and delivering donated breastmilk daily to the Hospital for Sick Children. There the donated milk was pooled, boiled, bottled, refrigerated until evening, packed in ice, and shipped by overnight train to northern Ontario. Milk was eventually freighted from Montreal as well. In all, 120 shipments of human milk were sent, the first arriving on May 31st, when the infants were only four days old. When the quints were switched to cow's milk in October, they had consumed more than 8,000 ounces. These shipments, unique in history, were credited with keeping them alive.

Ironically, it was the infant feeding industry that took credit for the early survival of the quints. According to Pierre Berton, author of The Dionne Years, "Perhaps the most famous was the Carnation milk advertisements, which implied that the babies 'practically bathed in the milk,' and boasted that in the first 18 months of life, the quintuplets had consumed 2500 cans of the milk. In fact, the quintuplets 'hated Carnation milk, and refused point blank to drink it."

1 comment:

  1. Pasteurized donor human milk can help protect the most medically fragile babies against life-threatening illnesses such as necrotizing enterocolitis (a severe bowel condition that preterm babies are prone to), and potentially against serious infections and other complications related to preterm birth. The bioactive components of donor milk, including cytokines, hormones, and enzymes, optimize the health and development of babies, and are unmatched by any commercial formula.