The non-availability of breast milk for newborns under the care of specialised adoption agencies in Tamil Nadu is a concern, S. Valarmathi, State’s Director of Social Defence, said here on Saturday.
Inaugurating the fourth edition of “Clinical updates in Indian breastfeeding practice” at SIMS Hospital here, she pointed out that there were many infants who did not have access to breast milk in the roughly 20 specialised adoption agencies under the monitoring of the Department of Social Defence.
Highlighting the importance of breast milk for infants, she asked if any of the organisations and healthcare professionals participating in the conference would be able to help in ensuring access to breast milk for these children.
According to the Social Welfare and Women Empowerment Department, under which the Department of Social Defence functions, 23 specialised adoption agencies are functioning in the State. Orphaned, abandoned or surrendered children are kept under the care of these agencies after they are declared legally free for adoption by the Child Welfare Committees of respective districts.
Addressing the media during the conference, Jayashree Jayakrishnan, clinical physiotherapist and lactation consultant, Happy Mom Healthcare Services, said that although breast milk banks functioned now in many government-run hospitals in Tamil Nadu, the milk sourced by these banks often fell short of meeting the demands of their own hospitals.
She said that though two or three breast milk banks function in Chennai, sourcing it remained a problem for them. “There are support groups on social media through which requests for breast milk are addressed sometimes by mothers who are willing to help one another,” she said.
E. Padmapriya, senior consultant, Department of Neonatology, SIMS Hospital, said the conference tried to bring together healthcare professionals to share knowledge on best practices to address the problems faced by breastfeeding mothers and children.
Raju Sivasamy, vice president, SIMS Hospital, said the hospital was launching a Lactation Management Clinic to help antenatal and postnatal mothers. Healthcare professionals from across the country took part in the conference organised jointly by SIMS Hospital and Happy Mom Healthcare Services.