22.67 litres of breast milk collected from mothers at Chennai KGH

Pasterurizing equipment

Chennai: Following the inauguration of breast milk bank in Chennai’s Government Kasturba Gandhi Hospital for Women and Children recently, the hospital has received 22.67 litres from 167 mothers and dispensed 19.32 litres.

As per data provided by the hospital to News Today, the statistics relates to milk collected between 4 December and 31 December. It is the second breast milk centre in the government hospital category in Chennai, inaugurated on 8 November.

The milk from the centre is used for preterm and low birth weight babies due to the additional respiratory support they are given. “Since they are separated from the mother, they cannot wean and in such instances, instead of using forumlated milk, we prefer utilising the breast milk collected in the bank. It is fed through tube-feed method,” said hospital dean, Dr S Vijaya.
Abandoned children and infants of mothers who had undergone caesarean delivery also utilise the service.

Breast pump with which milk is extracted

For now, the hospital is keen on creating awareness and collecting the milk from mothers who deliver in their hospital.

Since the women undergo treatment in the same hospital, all tests including HIV and Hepatitis B are conducted over time. The donated milk is directly deep frozen.

In case a donor from another hospital donates, the screening is performed before the milk is stored. Once the test reports reveal the milk to be safe, it is stored in a deep-freezer.

“Following this, it is pasteurised and a sample is given for culture to ensure the milk is not infected. Again, it is deep frozen and can be stored up to six months,” stated KGH paediatrician, Dr Senthilkumar.

A section of breast milk bank in KGH

The recipients, for now, are babies delivered in the same hospital. However, the hospital is ready to donate to ICH or Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, if there is a requirement.

As of now, the child delivered in our maternity ward need not be registered as we already have patient records. If the demand increases and infants from other hospitals walk in, we plan to devise a protocol for registration and distribution, stated the dean.

When excess breast milk is secreted, the counsellors of KGH encourage the mothers to donate it as human breast milk is rich in nutrients. It gives resistance power and prevents the baby from acquiring infections, diabetes, ischemic heart diseases, arthritis and gastroenteritis problems.

As for breastfeeding, the hospital has been educating all mothers to encourage them to do it once the child is born. When a pregnant woman comes for antenatal registration, we instruct them to do breastfeeding. The counsellors in the hospital convince the mother and make her feed her milk the minute the child is born.

The hospital aims to deliver babies with average birth weight which indirectly promotes mother’s health during pregnancy. Preterm or low-birth indicates that the mother does not have normal nutrition.

Total amount of expressed breast milk collection  22, 670 ml
Total amount of milk dispensed 19, 320 ml
Total number of samples sent for culture 175
Units of milk awaiting results  2, 200 ml