The first-ever breast milk bank in New South Wales, Australia has been opened, making it now one of only a handful to help newborns in need of breastmilk in the country.
It’s no secret that breast milk is called liquid gold for a reason. And, it’s no secret that vulnerable newborns can benefit from breast milk, even if it is not from its mother. Which is why mamas and health care advocates across the state of New South Wales, Australia are thrilled the first NSW milk bank has opened.
Now babies in ‘the first state’ will be able to obtain breast milk that’s been donated in a center that is run by NSW Health and the Australian Red Cross. Brad Hazard is the Minister for Health in NSW and said that about 1000 babies a year are born in NSW younger than 32 weeks, or with very low birth-weight or other needs that make breast milk so valuable for them. Now, they will have access to it even if something prevents their mother from making it, or enough.
Mr. Hazzard said that moms who have problems with their milk supply can now use donated milk to help their babies, especially preemies, while they continue to work on their supplies. Though the World Health Organization recommends that pasteurized breast milk should be the first alternative for babies (compared to formula) when a mother cannot nurse, it’s only just now that the milk bank will be able to benefit babies in NSW. Being the first in the south region (of five) will be a tremendous benefit to babies.
The milk bank will be run much like a blood bank, and much like other milk banks in the U.S., and worldwide–with screening, collecting, processing and pasteurization being part of protocol. Interestingly, Norway is currently the only country in the world with a milk bank that does not employ pasteurization.
Advocates hope that the ‘success’ of the country’s other banks, as well as this one, will continue to encourage the growth and development of more so mothers have options other than formula should they choose them for their babies.
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