World Breast Milk Donation Day reinforces benefits of breastfeeding

Latin America

World Breast Milk Donation Day reinforces benefits of breastfeeding

World Breast Milk Donation Day is May 19th. Brazil has the largest network of Human Milk Banks in the world, serving as an example in the fight against child malnutrition.

Lucrecia Franco reports from Rio de Janeiro.
Follow Lucrecia C. Franco on Twitter @LucreciaFranco

World Breast Milk Donation Day reinforces benefits of breastfeeding

World Breast Milk Donation Day reinforces benefits of breastfeeding

World Breast Milk Donation Day is May 19th. Brazil has the largest network of Human Milk Banks in the world, serving as an example in the fight against child malnutrition. Lucrecia Franco reports from Rio de Janeiro.

Jars of mothers’ milk are stored at the Fernandes Figueira Institute in Rio, the headquarters of Brazil’s milk bank network.

The milk is classified, pasteurized and distributed to premature babies.

Babies such as Valentina, who was born at six months and has been at a neonatal unit for the last two months.

“It is very hard to be away from her, but it is comforting to know that she is been well fed with the milk that is given to her,” Thayne Santos, the baby’s mother said.

It is hard but not a problem in Brazil. Of the 292 human milk banks in the world, 221 are based in Brazil.

No other country comes close to Brazil’s success with milk banks and this is the result of promoting donation for newborns, an act that can make the difference between life and death.

At the milk bank headquarters, other mothers are also taught the importance of breastfeeding. According to UNICEF, delaying breastfeeding increases risks of newborns death by 80 percent.

“The benefits for the health of the baby are vital, preventing respiratory diseases and diarrheas, protecting against obesity and diabetes and also for women’s health that by breastfeeding have a higher protection against breast and ovarian cancer,” Nurse Maira Domingues said.

By encouraging breastfeeding and milk donation, Brazil has not just slashed child mortality rates by two- thirds in the last 25 years, experts say, but has turned the country into a global leader in milk banking.