Singapore's only breastmilk bank nourishes over 600 babies
So many helpless babies have benefited from this amazing bank!
There’s something just so heartbreakingly vulnerable about a premature baby. Their minuscule limbs and complete helplessness is part of it. But beyond their fragility, premature babies are so much more susceptible to health issues than full-term babies. A common and deadly health problem they face is necrotising enterocolitis which affects their immature digestive system. The breastmilk bank in Singapore, however, has helped saved many tiny preemies from death by this disease.
The breastmilk donation bank was launched in August 2017 at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. It is the only breastmilk bank in Singapore. Since its launch, it has helped over 600 little ones whose mums could not produce enough breastmilk for them. Over 400 mothers have donated their breastmilk to help feed these helpless babies!
What’s even more commendable is that since its launch, a huge drop in the incidence of necrotising enterocolitis has been recorded, says the Straits Times.
Previously, around 5.8 percent among 200 babies suffered from this deadly condition. But, according to KKH, this has now dropped to 1.8 percent.
Before the availability of the breastmilk bank in Singapore, premature babies were given formula milk if their mums couldn’t produce enough breastmilk. And this put them at risk of developing necrotising enterocolitis without the protection that mother’s milk offers.
This is because breastmilk is packed full of a huge range of nutrients, hormones and enzyme (and more) that work together to not just nourish a baby, but also protect him from a range of diseases.
Preterm baby mummies cannot always produce enough breastmilk for a range of reasons. So this breastmilk bank in Singapore is certainly a blessing and a lifesaver.
But it’s not just preemies who benefit from this precious donated breastmilk. Others include babies with low birth weight, or those with conditions affecting the heart and gastrointestinal tract.
What are the reasons? Dr Chua explains that it mainly due to the “increasing maternal age at first pregnancy and a higher rate of assisted pregnancies.”
- Only babies who are Singaporean or permanent residents born in KKH, Singapore General Hospital or National University Hospital are eligible for donor milk from the milk bank.
- Every single tiny recipient of donor milk got about 2.9 litres of breastmilk over 13 days.
- The milk bank is a $1.37 million project funded over three years by philanthropic organisation Temasek Foundation Cares, says the Straits Times.
- Breastmilk donors must undergo blood tests to screen for diseases.
- All donated milk is pasteurised and tested for bacterial contamination.
- Donated breastmilk is absolutely free!
One mum who has both received and given milk to the breastmilk bank in Singapore, is Madam Aileen Gonzalez. Both her daughters were preemies. Her older girl, now five, was given formula as a newborn. But her youngest girl aged six months, received donated breastmilk.
“Even though it’s from another mum, I think breast milk still contains the best nutrients for the child,” said Madam Gonzalez to the Straits Times.
If you wish to donate your extra breastmilk, here are the details of this wonderful breastmilk bank in Singapore that you should know:
Source: The Straits Times