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Breastmilk banks for premature babies

5 December, 2008

Breastmilk banks for premature babies

Plans to create a national service of donor breastmilk banks are being drawn up by the Department of Health (DH) to help premature babies throughout the UK.

Posted 5 December 2008


Plans to create a national service of donor breastmilk banks are being drawn up by the Department of Health (DH) to help premature babies throughout the UK.


The DH has asked the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to create guidelines and consider the implications of such a scheme.  Concerns over the safe running of donation procedures have been raised, such as ensuring adequate pasteurisation, but a service similar to the National Blood Service is envisaged.

At present, there are 17 donor breastmilk banks run by different NHS Trusts across the country, but only babies born in these hospitals have access to the supplies. A national service would see all sick and premature babies offered the benefits of donated breast milk.

Donor milk is used as an alternative to formula milk for premature and growth-restricted babies because of its significant nutritional benefits, including omega-3 fatty acids, antibodies and easier digestion.






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