New milk bank for premature babies planned for Scotland

by Sura Nualpradid

Soon premature babies across Scotland could be fed using milk from donor’s if plans go ahead for the first national milk bank there.

Currently Scotland only has one milk bank which is held at Glasgow’s Yorkhill Hospital, but a growing number of health experts believe there should be more. They are saying that mother’s milk offers the best start for premature babies and more health benefits, as formula fed premature babies are at a higher risk of catching potentially life threatening infections. Due to premature babies having an immature immune system, they are generally prone to infection, whilst feeding them on breast milk, greatly reduces the risk.

The milk banks collect and supply milk that has been donated by mothers, who have all been screened to ensure they are healthy, who are producing a surplus or have tragically lost their own baby. Each donor’s milk is processed separately, batched for pasteurising which helps eliminate bacteria whilst retaining the majority of the milks beneficial components.

Currently a new pilot scheme is being run where the milk is being transported around Scotland by the Scottish Emergency Rider Volunteer service, which normally transports blood.

A decision on the proposed milk banks should be made in the very near future.

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