Ever heard of an ATM dispensing milk? The idea materialised into reality when students at Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, decided to set up machines dispensing human breast milk. The ATM kicked-off its service last week with an aim to nourish premature babies born at the institute. The milk bank is all set to guide and advice new mothers on breastfeeding as well.
“We chose to call it Amudham Thaippal Maiyam (ATM); ‘Amudham’ means nectar in Tamil; ‘Thaippal’ stands for breastfeeding and ‘Maiyam’ means centre or an institute,” shared Mr. Subhash Chandra Parija, Director, JIPMER.
According to Mr. SC Parija, close to 1,500 babies are born in JIPMER every month, with about 30% of them born either before term or with a low birth weight. This is an attempt to take care of such babies who need additional care and nourishment.
“Mother’s milk is extremely important for the newborn. There are many instances where the newborn is not able to get milk from the mother. When the mother suffers from lactating issues, postpartum illness or ailments like HIV, Hepatitis C or B, or fungal nipple infection, the baby suffers for the lack of human milk. The machines are set up with the aim to serve such infants,” noted Mr. Parija.
According to Mr. Parija, the milk is supplied from healthy lactating mothers who voluntarily choose to donate extra milk. “We have strict screenings for female donors. We screen them for all possible diseases including HIV and Hepatitis, and then the procured milk is pasteurised at 63.5 degree C for 35 minutes followed by other processes as per the Pasteurized Human Donor Milk (PHDM) guidelines,” shared Mr. Parija.
The milk supply could vary anywhere between 200 to 400 ml per donor.
“We hope this attempt proves helpful to many needy babies hereafter,” he concluded.