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Getting strong for surgery! – Norway

This beautiful little girl has Downs and was born with an AVSD heart condition (in which there are holes between the chambers of the heart needing surgical repair). This has since been corrected but before the surgery could take place it was very important that she was strong enough to face such an invasive treatment at such a young age. She was given donor milk in addition to her mum’s own milk to ensure she didn’t drop too much below her birthweight and as a result she only lost 100g before starting to gain weight and grow stronger. As a result of this her AVSD was able to be corrected at 3 months of age and she also didn’t need to be given any heart medications.

Her mother reports that whilst her daughter was receiving donor milk her digestion was much better than on the few days when she needed to be fed with formula because of a shortage of the donor milk. The family were not aware of the Downs or her heart condition prior to her delivery so the mother was under a great deal of stress in those early days. However, as a result of the availability of donor milk, providing sufficient extra milk did not add to her anxiety and the result was that by day 3 her milk had ‘come in’ – proving the health professionals wrong who had worried that her lactation would suffer as a result of all of her worries. And this she puts down to being able to relax as a result of the donor milk. At that point she decided that she would do her best to make enough milk to be able to become a donor herself and this she did! Already she has donated 20 litres of milk and she plans to continue. 

The mother has also voiced something else – a belief that the additional antibodies from the milk of donors have helped her daughter build a strong immune system. Little wonder than that she urges all who can to become donors. As she states ‘It takes a little effort but knowing that you help preemies and babies with health issues is such a reward. My baby received donor milk, so I became a donor myself to pay it forward. Breastmilk is liquid gold and donor milk is a life saver’.


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