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Surgery on day 1 of life – Greece

As starts to life go, needing urgent gut surgery for a malrotation is not the best! An intestinal or bowel malrotation can happen early in pregnancy and it means that the guts are twisting which can cause an obstruction which in turn can be life threatening. Hence the need for immediate surgery.

This little girl was born with such a condition and was operated on, on day 1 of her life. Born at almost 37 weeks gestation and weighing 2.3kg, technically she was preterm but she wasn’t a tiny baby. Even so, human milk was the only feed that her doctors wanted her to receive to protect her guts after the surgery.

Her enteral (milk) feeds started on day 6 and at this stage her mother hadn’t yet managed to produce enough of her own milk. Some days, she was able to bring some milk for her daughter but not always and so for 8 days she received donor milk from the hospital’s human milk bank. During this time, she received around 1 litre of donor milk but by the time her little girl was 2 weeks old, the mother was able to fully feed her.

She wrote, ‘I could never have imagined how stressful and sad the first moments, hours and days after the arrival of my little baby girl would be, when she was born with a bowel problem needing immediate surgery. My doctors kept stressing how important breastmilk would be for my baby…. Luckily for me, throughout all this, I had an ally! The Human Milk Bank. It provided the much-needed human milk for my baby while I was able to take my time and finally offer my own milk without all the additional anxiety about how to feed her. Human Milk Bank – thank you very much!’

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