Living'Best Milk', the UK's private breast milk bank offering...

'Best Milk', the UK's private breast milk bank offering donated bottled milk to mothers who are unable to breastfeed

According to data recorded by a study carried out by Unicef, 77% of English mothers choose to breastfeed when they give birth, but only 12% continue to breastfeed after two months in some areas of the country, and less than 1 % do so beyond the baby’s five or six months of life.

For this reason, and in order to guarantee that British families can comply with the eating guidelines recommended by the WHO, the first private breast milk bank has been launched in the United Kingdom , which is called ‘Best Milk’.

Thus, mothers residing in counties such as Somerset, Gloucestershire or Bristol with difficulties in breastfeeding their babies or who simply wish to feed their children with breast milk and cannot do so, will receive bottled breast milk “of the highest quality” at home. quality “ donated by other mothers.

Buy breast milk online and receive it at home

‘Best Milk’ began its journey in September last year thanks to the idea of Julia Sarno, mother and member of the Institute of Food Science and Technology in the United Kingdom. As she explains herself, she decided to start offering this service to families based on her own experience , not being able to breastfeed her child:

“I was desperately looking for safe breast milk for my son. I felt like it was my fault that I couldn’t breastfeed him, and I wanted to find a solution for him.”

In those difficult moments, Julia received a desperate call from a friend of hers who was also having difficulties with breastfeeding, due to the food allergies that her baby had developed.

“That was the crucial moment in which I began to think about how to solve the pressing problem of the shortage of breast milk in our society” – he explains.

This is how Julia left her job and focused on starting this project, offering safe breast milk at the click of a button, easily and without leaving home. His goal was that any mother who wanted to breastfeed and could not do it (due to breastfeeding problems, adoption, babies that are not satisfied with their mother’s milk …) would have at her disposal quality donated breast milk to offer her baby .

“If adults can order food online, why not also order natural food for our babies, in a simple and easy way, like when we order a pizza at home?”

Although the idea seemed simple, Julia says it took years to put it into practice, as the service required the highest quality. To do this, it has had the help of experts in food safety and quality, microbiologists and pediatricians who collect, examine and supply breast milk with the maximum guarantee .

“Pure and safe breast milk, and free of COVID-19”

Donor mothers who collaborate with ‘Best Milk’ must pass an interview in which they are asked about their lifestyle habits and successfully pass a serological screening for HIV-I and II, hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HBC), syphilis and HTLV (human T lymphotropic virus). Also, they cannot be on antibiotics or pain relievers, antidepressants, have mastitis, or be COVID-positive.

Donated milk is subjected to a laboratory analysis , and if it passes the test it is professionally pasteurized, packaged in glass bottles and delivered by courier to British mothers who have previously requested it through an online questionnaire.

From 500 to 1,000 euros per service

Although breast milk is free, the ‘Best Milk’ service carries associated costs intended to cover the expenses of the donor mothers (breast pumps, storage, serological tests, expenses for caring for the child while the mother expresses the milk. .), the tests carried out in the laboratories and the charges for refrigerated couriers, which vary depending on the delivery area.

In this way, the costs of feeding a newborn for approximately five days would be around 45 euros, and would amount to just over 500 euros for a full month’s feeding (approximately 5,000 ml of milk).

This last option is, according to ‘Best Milk’, “the most popular package” , although there are personalized options for ” children with a good appetite” , being able to contract for them an exclusive package adapted to their needs, in which case the costs could rise up to 1,000 euros.

Is ‘Best Milk’ a good idea?

We know that breastfeeding has multiple benefits for mother and baby .

Thus, breastfeeding the baby helps a woman reduce the risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, breast or ovarian cancer. For its part, breast milk helps the newborn to reduce infant colic, regulate its metabolism and protect it from diseases such as asthma or necrotizing enterocolitis.

In the case of premature babies , breast milk is key to their physical and neurological development, which is why many hospitals have a service of donated breast milk to feed premature and large premature babies who, for whatever reason, They cannot receive milk directly from their mothers, so they receive it from donor mothers.

Despite the fact that the WHO and other health organizations have recommended exclusive breastfeeding for years up to six months, and accompanied by other foods for up to two years or more, the reality is that breastfeeding rates are low in many countries such as the United Kingdom or even Spain, where only 28.5% of mothers choose exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.

Among the main problems faced by mothers when breastfeeding their babies , the few policies of family reconciliation, the short time of maternity leave and the bumps typical of breastfeeding that sometimes arise, and that mothers do not stand out. they can always overcome.

In this sense, the idea of having private breast milk banks that comply with all quality guarantees might seem, a priori, a good option for some mothers, although I confess that personally it would generate many doubts to buy bottled breast milk online and receive it at the door of the house.

In addition, although breast milk is the best food that exists, I also believe that premature and sick babies should benefit at all times from the surplus milk of other women who want to donate altruistically, and always through banks officers and hospitals .

Breastfeeding is not always easy , but fortunately more and more health professionals are aware of the importance of defending and protecting breastfeeding. Breastfeeding groups and counselors also do a great job, helping many women to overcome their obstacles.

Foto | ‘Best Milk’

In Babies and More | Would you buy breast milk online? Doctors warn of the danger of doing so, “Human milk” instead of “breast milk”: this is the new gender-inclusive language guide in UK hospitals, Covid-19 antibodies found in breast milk of infected mothers , How to express and store breast milk

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