NICU in Vani Vilas Hospital formula feed-free since new year, thanks to milk bank

In a first, the milk bank, that was started on March 8, 2022, on Women’s Day, has made the hospital self-sufficient

March 06, 2023 10:50 pm | Updated March 07, 2023 07:57 am IST - Bengaluru

Vani Vilas Hospital in Bengaluru.

Vani Vilas Hospital in Bengaluru. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Thanks to the human breast milk bank at Vani Vilas Hospital, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is free of formula feed since the new year. This the first time that the milk bank, started on March 8, 2022, on Women’s Day and about to complete a year, has made the hospital self-sufficient and the NICU formula feed-free for two consecutive months. 

The milk bank has till date collected 158 litres and 364 ml of human breast milk, and dispensed 101 litres to 886 babies, of which 300 were preterm babies. The milk bank has also provided lactation counselling for 4,906 mothers. 

The milk bank collects excess breast milk from new mothers, pasteurises and stores it to be fed to newborn babies in need, usually when a mother’s own milk is unavailable. “The burden of low birth weight babies in various hospitals in the country is around 20% with significant mortality and morbidities in the country. Feeding these babies with breastmilk can significantly reduce the risk of infections. Vani Vilas Hospital, particularly, faces challenges, having one of the highest number of low birth weight babies,” a statement from Vani Vilas Hospital said. 

C. Savita, Medical Superintendent of the Hospital, said that the milk bank has made the hospital self-sufficient and for the first time for two months, the NICU unit had been formula feed-free. “Even now, it is precarious. If the demand shoots up, we may have to revert to formula feed in parts,” she said. 

“We need to create awareness and motivate more new mothers to donate their excess breast milk. Presently, we are collecting breast milk from everyone, but providing milk only to babies who are delivered at our hospital and are in need. We also need to augment our infrastructure and add another deep freezer. We are open to philanthropic contributions as well,” Dr. Savita said. 

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