Young Paraguayan moms donate breast milk to 1,000 abandoned babies
Young mothers donate milk in Paraguay to feed premature and abandoned babies.
Young mothers donate breast milk
A Paraguayan network of over 240 young mothers has set out to donate enough breast milk every year to feed close to 1,000 babies who cannot be nursed by their own mothers, either because of maternal health problems or because they were born prematurely or because they were abandoned at birth.
(All text from EFE)
Milk collected in sterilized containers
The project, coordinated by Asuncion's San Pablo Hospital, is made possible by a mobile unit that visits the mothers every week to collect the containers of milk that have been previously frozen.
After gathering the sterilized containers, the milk is taken to the hospital's maternity ward, where biochemical analyses are done to guarantee that the donors did not suffer from such illnesses as HIV, hepatitis B or the rubella virus.
Lizzi Miranda, a 26-year-old mother said, she decided to join in the project after doctors assured her she could nurse her baby girl despite the medication she takes to alleviate her epilepsy.
The mother noted the importance of this program in fighting the "taboos" that exist in Paraguay with regard to suckling babies, especially after the first year of breastfeeding.
Paraguay - lowest on breastfeeding index
According to 2017 statistics of the Food and Nutrition Institute (INAN), Paraguay is the country with the lowest breastfeeding index on the continent, since only 12.5 per cent of mothers nurse their babies, compared with the 50 per cent recommended by the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
Irreplaceable breast milk
On the route of donors' homes, the nurse managing the service, Juliana Martinez, spoke highly of the virtues of breast milk compared with synthetic alternatives like "milk formulas."
"However hard they try to make milk formulas like the real thing, it will never be the same because it will never have all the nutrients that come from the mother," Martinez said.
1,480 liters of breast milk
The Breast Milk Bank collected in 2018 a total of 1,480 litres of raw breast milk, from which 494 litres of pasteurized breast milk were prepared for feeding babies.
The collected milk is stored in special freezers at the hospital to guarantee its quality and is provided in response to orders from pediatricians at a number of medical centers.