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Donor human milk; an adoption story – Poland

There are many situations and circumstances where a baby has no opportunity to receive his or her own mother’s milk; mother’s sadly die in child birth, maternal ill health may make even a few feeds impossible and a baby abandoned or given for adoption will usually not receive any maternal milk or opportunities for breastfeeds. Sometimes however, access to donor human milk from a milk bank is able to be arranged and one such story is told here in the adoptive mother’s own words. 

‘This young boy was born at term and was given up by his biological mother immediately after his birth. Before he came to our family he received human milk from the milk bank at the University Clinical Hospital in Wrocław where he was born. It was only for a short time, but I am happy he received at least this much. I know how important natural breastfeeding is. I breastfed my younger, biological son for over 2 years. I do hope that in the short time that he was fed milk from the milk bank he received valuable elements of human milk to help build his immunity. I am grateful to the hospital for allowing him to be fed milk from the milk bank. For me, during the time of waiting for my son, it was important to know he had all that was best for him. Now he is a big and happy boy, growing up in a loving family’. 

The idea of providing donor milk to term, healthy infants is sometimes challenged – ‘where is the evidence of any benefit from a few feeds of donor milk’ and ‘will it mean sick and premature babies may go without’ are questions that may be asked? Milk banks are always very careful to ensure they have enough milk for tiny and vulnerable infants and won’t risk jeopardising supplies but if there is sufficient milk in the bank and a newborn may benefit then such a story as this may ensue with a mother helped to feel her adopted son has been helped to a better start in life. 

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