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New donor breastmilk guidelines

25 February, 2010

New donor breastmilk guidelines

New guidelines that aim to ensure the safety of donor breastmilk have been produced by NICE.

Posted 25 February 2010

New guidelines that aim to ensure the safety of donor breastmilk have been produced by NICE.

New mothers can donate their breastmilk to a dedicated milk bank – there are about 17 main milk banks in the UK. The practice has been taking place for over 100 years, but some healthcare professionals are still unsure how donated breastmilk is handled, processed and stored to reduce the risk of harmful bacteria or disease being transmitted through the milk.

The guidelines are aimed at health professionals like midwives who might be caring for women who wish to donate breastmilk or who might want to receive some milk. The recommendations include:

– Using serological testing to screen all potential breastmilk donors for diseases including HIV, hepatitis and syphilis

– Pasteurising all milk to reduce the risk of any potentially harmful bacteria being passed on

– Ensuring that all equipment used in milk handling and processing is regularly inspected using the manufacturer’s instructions

–Only supplying donor breastmilk to hospitals or neonatal units who agree to comply with the tracking procedures for milk as outlined by the milk bank.

The RCM’s professional policy advisor Janet Fyle said: ‘Donor breastmilk is very important for sick babies who need the super nutrients that breastmilk offers. This is why we welcome the very high standards set by NICE for obtaining and storing donor breastmilk. This will encourage and give confidence to those mothers who donate their milk and mothers whose infants receive the donated breast milk.’

The guidelines can be found at http://guidance.nice.org.uk/CG93



 
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