The first thousand days of a child’s life are the most crucial for proper immune system development to fight dangerous infections. In the recent BBC News article – India’s growing breast milk banking network, Save the Children says breast milk is ultimately a “superfood for newborns.”
According to the BBC, Gauri Meena, a young mom in India who recently gave birth to a baby two months early, struggled to provide the necessary nutrients. Her baby’s weakened immune system and a bacterial infection left him vulnerable. The doctor prescribed medication for the infection and recommended Gauri breastfeed, but she has been struggling to have enough milk because she lacks enough good food and strength. Thanks to the clinic’s human milk bank, the first in north India, Gauri has been able to feed her baby using donated breast milk from another mother.
In India and some other nations around the world, the difficulty Gauri faced to breastfeed her newborn is not uncommon. The Rajasthan clinic started to help mothers just like Gauri, by requesting surplus milk from local women who were breastfeeding. Mothers willing to donate are pre-screened for various diseases like HIV and hepatitis, milk is tested and then pasturized and frozen for up to four months.
Some health experts call this superfood for babies “liquid gold” because they believe it to be the most effective solution to fighting deadly infections in infants and low initial birth weights. More than 1.4 million children died in India in 2012—it’s believed that getting an adequate supply of breast milk could have helped prevent more than half of these deaths — most of which occur during the first month of a baby’s life.
Dr. Arun Gupta, the central coordinator of the Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India, says India needs one well-trained counselor for every 1,000 women to educate women about breastfeeding. Not only will these measures help to ensure more children survive, but also give their mothers hope that their babies will live and lead a healthy, happy life.
Take Action Challenge
In honor of World Breastfeeding week, help provide guidance on newborn care and breastfeeding to a mom in need for just $25. Visit our partner, Save the Children to donate and see how your support helps health workers to educate moms and save newborn lives!