Breast milk bank for babies set up at city neonatal unit

The bank at a local hospital was established to ensure babies can feed on either their mother's milk or donated milk to boost their growth.
Ti Gong

A nurse at the neonatal intensive care unit at Children's Hospital of Fudan University is feeding a premature baby with breast milk.

Newborn babies being kept at neonatal intensive care unit of a local pediatric hospital are able to feed on breast milk from their mother or other new mothers who donated their milk.

The city’s first breast milk bank for newborns in intensive care was announced yesterday at the Children’s Hospital of Fudan University.

“Breast milk is the best food for babies. For premature ones and those born with very low weight, infection and intestinal diseases, breast milk is not only food but also medicine,” said Dr Cao Yun, director of the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

“The antibody and bioactive substances can protect babies and help their growth.”


A nurse at the Children’s Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit feeds a premature baby with breast milk.

Previously, all babies at the NICU were fed formula milk. 

The hospital started to encourage mothers to bring their own breast milk to the hospital. Education was also launched to teach parents about the importance of breast milk and teach mothers how to express milk.

Trials found very effective results as infection of babies dropped and those needing surgery also dropped after drinking breast milk.

“So we decided to set up a special bank to promote the measure to all babies at NICU and encourage mothers whose babies have been discharged from care to donate their extra breast milk to those whose mothers don’t have enough breast milk,” Cao said. “To ensure the baby’s safety, all procedures are under strict monitoring and donated milk will undergo tests.”

“We went to foreign hospitals to learn their experiences and management before starting our own breast milk bank,” Cao said. “Because it is a breast milk bank for high risk hospitalized newborn babies, we must be extremely careful to ensure its safety and quality.”

Xu Changna said she is very grateful for the breast milk bank, as her hospitalized newborn twin boys greatly benefited from it.

“I have much concern about safety and quality of donated breast milk from other mothers after doctors told me that my babies can drink donated breast milk at NICU,” said Xu, who delivered the twins in September.

“I gave my approval after doctors patiently explained the effects of breast milk and their strict operation. My babies grow quickly and one will be discharged soon.”

A nurse at the Children’s Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit is testing breast milk.

Ti Gong

A nurse at the Children’s Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit is storing breast milk at a special refrigerator. 

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