In the case of this Bank, young mothers can donate their milk

In the past, women who could not breast-feed said their babies to a nurse. This profession no longer exists in the industrialized world. In some clinics or sick infants get early nevertheless, the milk of other women. Strange? No, much too rarely, according to experts.

As your son is in the seventh pregnancy month, much too early, he is too weak to drink at the breast. Jennifer starts to pump out, in order to supply your son, however, with the valuable mother’s milk and let the milk flow will not dry up. She makes enough milk – more than your son can drink. As a doctor with the question coming to you, whether you would like to donate the excess milk to other premature babies, do not hesitate. “That was for me, no question. If I can help, then I’ll do it.“

For the following weeks, Jennifer became a sort of wet nurse – you are not satisfied, while foreign babies, but their milk for the nutrition of other premature babies at the milk Bank of the hospital. Human milk banks have been around for almost 100 years in Germany. However, their number for the supply of local vulnerable children is currently much too low, suits professionals. A woman milk Bank Initiative (FMBI) would like to change that.

Nearly 20 human milk banks in Germany

“Only about 20 of the more than 200 perinatal centers in Germany currently have a woman milk Bank,” says Anne Sunder-Plaßmann, co-founder of the Initiative. “The need is much greater. Other countries, such as Sweden, are ahead of us.“ The Initiative wants to achieve that in five years, each province has at least one human milk Bank.

What is it exactly? The idea is based on the recognition that mother’s milk is the best food for newborns – even in times of industrially produced dairy products. “They’re going to get with this Formula milk to children up well, no question,” says Frank Jochum of the clinic for child and adolescent medicine at Waldkrankenhaus Spandau in Berlin. “But we know from numerous studies that you can achieve the same as mother’s milk, which is concerned about the digestibility or certain immunological aspects.” Jochum considers the establishment of milk banks, therefore, welcome. “This is a great thing, I’d like one.”

The path to donor

A, a, Ralf Böttger. The Neonatologist has established the human milk Bank at the University hospital of Magdeburg, Germany after being there for a few years lay fallow. In the section currently, about 15 women would donate in a year milk. “So that we can provide in the rule the children that need it the most urgently needed – the preterm infants with a birth weight of under 1500 grams.” If milk is left, you’ll be delivered to a sick newborn. “The location is good, not perfect.”

Böttger advertises in the case of children, doctors, women doctors and midwives in the Region for its milk Bank, and asks the clinic to mothers who have just given birth, whether you want to donate. A potential buyer is found, it must answer questions about their way of life, as well as current and past diseases. Your blood will be tested for infectious diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis, Syphilis, and Cytomegalovirus. In addition, swabs can be tested by the body to multi-resistant germs. The findings, okay, we can start with the donation.

This procedure is not in all milk banks are the same, but comparable. It basically involves health risks for the most vulnerable Premature infants and newborns, to exclude – to prevent, for example, that a pathogen with the mother’s milk to them. Before the donated milk is fed, it is examined for bacterial load.

Jennifer has become at the University hospital of Freiburg for the donor. “That was actually not a great circumstance,” says the 39-Year-old, whose son is two years old today. “I was already at the hospital every day, and I pumped six to eight Times a day. Part of it got my son, the Rest holding another child.“

Opportunities and threats the mother’s milk donation

Very immature premature babies benefited from breast-milk administration in the majority of says Jochum. You can rarely develop a dangerous intestinal infection called necrotizing enterocolitis. In the case of this complex disease, the bacteria migrate to happen, among other things, in the intestine, as a rule, can eat holes in the intestinal wall. “We know that, for example, such infections occur less frequently, if the children are fed with mother’s milk.”

Which of the ingredients gives, in this case, the protection is not known. However, we know that in mother’s milk, many substances are stuck in the first weeks and months of life from diseases, for example, antibodies against infectious pathogens, such as rotavirus. “Such components can be easily replicated and the Formula milk to be stable to reset,” says Jochum.

But also children, the donors of milk to get, do not always benefit fully from all the advantages of mother’s milk. This is due to the fact that it is not always the raw milk is fed, but pasteurized milk, but not all of the immunological factors are active. This is for example necessary if the milk-giving mother is infected in the course of your life with the Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV). After a – often harmless in the course of infection – this Virus is in the body and can be reactivated under Stress or in the course of other diseases.

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For the newborn, an infection can result in serious, even fatal consequences. “Milk of mothers, in whose blood we find antibodies against HCMV, pasteurizing we will, therefore, always,” explains Böttger of a woman milk Bank in Magdeburg. Otherwise, the milk will be fed there, if possible raw, to be able to their advantages, take full advantage of.

Basically, the breast-milk donation is not safe, stress experts. “Fear of adverse reactions by the administration of foreign-mother’s milk you do not need to have in the environment of a clinic,” says Jochum. It is different in the case of organized private dairy exchanges, see about on the Internet breast milk for sale or as a donation is offered. 2014 started as an Initiative in Hamburg. “We have as the German society for child and adolescent medicine not found a good one. The risk of infection is simply too large, and you do not know, for example, whether the donor mother is taking any medication.“ The Hamburger milk-stock exchange no longer exists now.

Milk banks currently Minus-business for clinics

Despite the many advantages of mother’s milk banks, must deal with dedicated physicians such as the FMBI-founders with specialist colleagues often against reservations. “We are therefore working to improve the technical Know-how, for example, with lectures and training courses for medical professionals,” says Sunder-Plaßmann of the FMBI.

To donors, there is generally no shortage, Böttger convinced. “The interest is big.” Currently, there are more structural reasons that would restrict the establishment and operation of milk banks. “The operation of a milk Bank is currently the clinic is a Minus-business,” says Böttger. You need equipment and personnel for the hospitals not accounted for currently, the health insurance companies involved in the cost. For this reason, there is a lack also of structures to such donor to pick up the inside-milk, and thus to increase the capacity of a milk Bank.

So it depends often on the commitment of individual Doctors or politicians, whether in a state of a milk Bank exists or is established or not. The government of lower Saxony is involved recently in the establishment of three breast milk banks in the country. The first of these was opened in September in Vechta in lower Saxony, clinics in Wolfsburg and Hannover will follow.

Mother’s milk banks in the past

Historically, the value that mother’s milk was considered, and thus the mother’s milk banks has been granted, has always been closely associated with social and societal conditions associated with it, such as Anne Sunder-Plaßmann in a historical essay published in the “journal of obstetrics and neonatology” has broken down.

Thus, the high mortality rate of children, the paediatrician at the end of the 19th century, it was first. Century and the beginning of the 20th century. Century prompted, to propagate the value of the mother’s milk. Hospitals hired wet-nurses, and started in parallel, methods for storage and preservation of surplus milk. In 1919, a Doctor, founded the first mother’s milk Bank in Magdeburg. In the next few years for more human milk banks have been established, and also because it became increasingly difficult to find wet nurses.

In the third Reich, the efforts of doubt, have been liable to extended requirements: as a “völkisches community project, in which the German people struggled together for the future of the breed”, as Sunder-describes Plaßmann. In the 1960s, the decline of the milk banks began in the Federal Republic of finally, especially because fewer and fewer women breastfed and formula from a massively advertised. Also, fear of pollution, and infections probably contributed to the decline. In the GDR, the banks were no longer, only in the Wake of the reunification, many of the collection closed.

Politicians, the authorities and health insurance companies are now asked

Currently, there is a growing interest in milk banks, says Sunder-Plaßmann. “This is the Trend we want to accelerate and intensify.” This was also necessary politically: “As a Contracting party to the UN Convention on children’s rights has obliged Germany to ensure the Survival and development of the child to the greatest possible extent.” Politicians, public authorities and health insurers should support the development and operation of human milk banks financially.

Jennifer stopped after the dismissal to donate. After nearly three months in the hospital, her son came home and began to drink independently on the chest. “I was glad to be rid of the milk pump”, told Jennifer today. “But I found it beautiful, to participate. You can give something back and help those who can not breastfeed themselves. This is a good thing.“