Banking on the Milk of Human Kindness
Updated: Jun 18
Prized as the ideal form of infant nutrition, breast milk also contains antibodies that can protect the immunity systems of babies.
There’s an extra boost: The coronavirus has not been found in human milk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
However, COVID-19 restrictions imposed on everyday life are affecting moms who hope to breastfeed — but must rely on the kindness of others. Some instances:
Hospitalization. During inpatient treatment, women confirmed with COVID-19 or being monitored for the illness may be temporarily isolated from their babies, advises the CDC.
Stress. Mother’s mood is key to her milk supply. Rising uncertainty about the public health crisis only adds to the natural, maternal concerns of being a good caregiver.
Income. Lower-income mothers are more likely to nurse their babies, according to UNICEF. Therefore, setbacks in their health, wellbeing or economic status could force them to seek other sources to ensure infant nutrition.
Yes, life has become more precarious for society’s most vulnerable – especially for our littlest ones.
Milk bank donations are one way for breastfeeding moms to help each other, especially during this coronavirus outbreak. It is crucial, however, to rely on reputable organizations and facilities with strict testing and pasteurization processes in place to ensure the safety of donors, donees and their babies.
The Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) is a not-for-profit network of donor milk banks, which strives to create a world where all infants have access to breast milk. Working with the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration, HMBANA has developed guidelines for rigorous screening, processing, and distribution of breast milk.
If you are interested in becoming a breast milk donor, Healthy Horizons’ induced lactation or relactation consultations may be your first step.