Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I Make Milk, What's Your Super Power?

Premature babies that are fed formula rather than breastmilk are 6-10 times more likely to acquire necrotizing entercolitis (NEC). Of babies who acquire NEC, over half may die.

Premature babies that are fed formula rather than breastmilk have been shown to have an IQ that is 9-12 points lower (as a frame of reference, lead poisoning lowers IQ by 4-9 points)

Breastmilk improves gut, eye, brain and immune system development, lowering the infant’s risk of illness, asthma, allergies, diabetes, obesity and even some childhood cancers.

Some mothers of premature babies are unable to provide breastmilk because they may be on medications, have certain illnesses (since preemies are more fragile, things that are fine for the mom of a full term infant may not be okay for a preemie), or because they simply have not been able to pump enough due to stress or a combination of stress and having multiples.

But healthy nursing moms can help by donating their breastmilk. The milk is collected, tested for fat and calorie content, pooled together with milk from other moms, pasteurized and sent to sick babies. Some milk banks are even starting to provide donor milk that is no longer appropriate for sick babies (lower calorie content, or older batches) to cancer patients whose immune systems have been weakened by chemotherapy.

I just finished my initial screening to be a donor (something I’ve wanted to do since Sierra was a baby) for the Mother’s Milk Bank of Austin. If you’re interested in being a donor, check out the Human Milk Banking Association of North America

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