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Born two weeks overdue and not breathing – UK

Donor human milk is traditionally thought of as a food and a therapy for babies who have been born early but in circumstances like the ones described below, it can also prove nutritionally and therapeutically beneficial for babies who have been reluctant to be born and kept their expectant parents waiting … This little boy’s mother takes up the story:

‘My son was born 2 weeks overdue by emergency caesarean, not breathing and in ‘poor condition’. He was intubated and sent to the high dependency unit. It was many hours before I could see him and he needed to be fed via a feeding tube. This was all very different to the image I’d had of gently starting breastfeeding in our own home. 

He was many times bigger than most of the other babies – his first roommates – and we really didn’t expect to be there or know what to do. We were given the option of donor milk and were so happy – there just is no substitute for it. I hadn’t known it was possible or available.

This gave me chance for my own milk to come-in, which I hadn’t realised could be delayed. He pulled out his feeding tube after 4 days, but by then we were combi-feeding. After a week he was discharged in full health and is still breastfed 14 months later. I also managed to donate some milk back to the bank and it felt good to be able to return the favour in a way. I feel bad I didn’t give more, but hopefully again in the future. 

I appreciate now how much work is involved to get milk from a mum to a baby, not least by the milk bank and volunteer motorbike collectors. We are grateful for the start that the Oxford Human Milk Bank allowed us. During a worrying time, it was one small thing that helped us to feel better.

5 months old

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