Donating milk is heartwarming, but there are apparently other benefits. In May, a new study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology showed that having breastfed has a positive impact on a mother’s blood pressure. The effects last even several years after weaning – in fact till well after menopause. An important finding was, “The longer a woman breastfeeds, the lower her likelihood of having high blood pressure later in life.” (Translation: the shorter the breastfeeding period, the greater one’s risk of high blood pressure later).
How much healthier will milk donors be, since they have provided milk for more than one baby at a time?
The study was carried out in Australia on huge group of nearly 75000 women, so the results are, shall we say, fairly conclusive. For further details, see http://sciencealert.com.au/news/20132605-24416.html
The scientific abstract is on http://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(13)00155-5/abstract
This past week, our little milk bank was feeding four babies at once, and full feedings too. We had only fed one or two babies at a time previously, usually with a fair amount supplied by their own mothers. However for one reason or another, each of these four mothers was unable to provide milk at times during the week.
Finally we were down to two babies on full donor milk – one whose mother was too ill to provide her own milk, and one baby from a set of twins. The photos below are used with permission, to show donors where their precious milk went this week.
Feeding four babies fully put us under some pressure, and it was hard to keep up with the collection of raw milk, and the pasteurising. My huge gratitude goes to our current donors for helping us keep up.
Unluckily, in the end, the hard decision was made to move the two biggest and healthiest of babies on to formula, so as to to keep a stock of milk for the little ones and for any emergency situation. Things are so relative – sometimes a baby of 1.6 kgs can seem “nicely chubby” or “very strong” when compared with the fragile 900g baby next to her, but in reality she is acutely vulnerable too.
How I wish we had donor milk for ALL our high-care babies in need, for as long as they needed it. That would make my heart feel great.