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UKE opens Hamburg's first breastmilk bank

Top class breastmilk bank to care for high-risk babies who cannot be fed by their own mothers

The perinatal centre at the University Hospital Eppendorf (UKE) opened Hamburg’s first breast milk bank on Friday (May 19) to coincide with Word Human Milk Donation Day. The bank is one of 18 across Germany and caters to premature and high-risk babies whose own mothers do not have enough milk. Prof. Dr. Dominique Singer, Head of the Neonatology and Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at UKE, said: “Breastmilk is the ideal food for newborns especially for small and weak infants. Thanks to immunological factors and the way it contributes to a healthy intestinal flora, breastmilk protects effectively from infections.”

Highest medical safety standards

The breastmilk bank caters mainly to premature babies and especially in the first days when the infants are particularly prone to infections. A mere 100 millilitres of milk per day is enough to feed a premature baby and lowers the risk of infection considerably. UKE’s breastmilk bank meets the highest medical safety standards and functions similar to a blood bank. Every donor and each portion of milk is checked thoroughly. Only healthy mothers, whose child is also being cared for at UKE’s perinatal centre, can donate the milk. The mothers must have enough breastmilk to feed their own baby and another baby or sometimes twins.

Financed by donations

The breastmilk bank is financed mainly from donations as health insurers do not pay for the donor’s breastmilk. The preparatory measures for the breastmilk bank have been financed by the “Hamburg macht Kinder gesund“ (Hamburg makes children healthy) association and from a donation by the “Frühstart” parents’ initiative.

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