University of São Paulo: HC Human Milk Bank encourages lactation and the importance of its maintenance

Breast milk is essential for the nutrition of newborns, especially premature babies, and prevents infectious diseases. Valdenise Calil , pediatrician and medical coordinator of the Human Milk Bank at Hospital das Clínicas da USP, speaks in an interview with Jornal da USP no Ar 1st Edition about the purpose and importance of the human milk bank for newborns and mothers .

“The human milk bank has the great purpose of encouraging and maintaining lactation, especially in mothers of at-risk newborns who cannot suck milk directly from the breasts, that is, premature newborns, and also those who are carriers of congenital malformations”, explains the pediatrician. According to her, the mother’s milk can be expressed and stored and, when the baby needs to breastfeed, the milk is heated and given to her child.

If the mother does not have enough milk production, Valdenise informs that it is possible to use human milk expressed and pasteurized, coming from other donors, which maintains almost 100% of the nutrients and about 70% of the defense factors.

“He [milk] will need this procedure, which is pasteurization, to eliminate eventually pathogenic bacteria and viruses. When the milk is from the mother, it can be frozen for up to 15 days. Then it has to be pasteurized too. When milk is from other mothers for that baby, it can only be used pasteurized,” she says.

a progress
According to the pediatrician, diseases of the digestive, respiratory, intestinal tract and other infections can be prevented with the use of human milk, and mortality rates in newborns, reduced. In addition, as explained by Valdenise, the possibility of reducing the use of milk formulas from the milk bank is also beneficial: “Dairy formulas, in addition to not being ideal for the nutrition of these newborns, have a great cost for the hospital. We will improve the quality of these newborns’ health and optimize their long-term neurosensory and cognitive development. They will be children with a higher level of intelligence.” She reveals that children who receive the ideal amount of breast milk early evolve with higher IQ.

For the doctor, the human milk bank means an advance in relation to the breast milk collection post that existed before: “Mothers extracted their milk and it could only be used raw. Raw milk in the fridge can keep for up to 12 hours for these children admitted to the hospital. We didn’t even have a freezer at this collection point, so milk that exceeded 12 hours was discarded. Only the mother’s own milk could be used and now we can start to pasteurize the milk”.

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