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Donor milk can bring huge comfort – Bulgaria

The spotlight on donor milk recipients very often falls on very tiny, premature and low birthweight infants. And globally these are the babies for whom there is a growing body of research evidence to back its use. They also usually need much smaller volumes of donor milk and so limited supplies can feed more babies.

Where more resources have been made available to milk banks and where donors are sufficient in number, there seems to be a growth within Europe of providing donor milk to older and bigger babies, and also sometimes to families where the lack of breastmilk is as a result of a maternal health condition.

This little girl is one such case. Her mother has Multiple Sclerosis (MS), the immune system disease affecting the brain and spinal cord. MS is not yet curable however some medicines can help ease the symptoms. In common with a few other medications and treatments, some MS medicines are not compatible with breastfeeding as they may adversely affect the baby through the maternal milk.

Born at 38 weeks, this little girl wasn’t a tiny or premature baby and so would not have been able to receive donor milk from a human milk bank in many parts of the world. However, in Bulgaria, as a result of the Human Milk Bank in Sofia, she received donor milk for almost 6 months. Here are her mother’s words explaining what it meant to her. 

‘Receiving breastmilk saved me as a mother from a sense of guilt for not being able to breastfeed my baby daughter and gave me the comfort that she is receiving all the essential components for her growth and development.’

And in a message to donors she adds; ‘Thank you for giving me the chance to offer my baby girl the best start in life. You gave me the priceless comfort that she is not being disadvantaged by my disease. She had more than one mother in her first months – you gave her the most precious gift in life.’

40 days old

 

19 months old

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