Research Article

Human milk bank in a district general hospital.

Br Med J 1978; 2 doi: (Published 16 September 1978) Cite this as: Br Med J 1978;2:794
  1. G McEnery,
  2. B Chattopadhyay


    A human milk bank was organised in the special care baby unit of a district general hospital. The staff of the unit and members of a voluntary organisation helped to contact donors and arrange collection of milk samples. Over two years 2093 samples of expressed breast milk were collected from 187 donors and examined bacteriologically. Of these samples, 1171 (56%) grew no bacteria. If the organism count exceeded 2.5 X 10(6)/1 but was less than 1 X 10(9)/1 samples were subjected to mild heat treatment. If the count exceeded 1 X 10(9)/1 the milk was not fed to babies. Sixty-five babies received milk from the bank during the second year. Although these infants were vulnerable, mortality and morbidity were not adversely affected by the banked milk they received. The cost of establishing and running a human milk bank need not be high. Extensive resources such as extra staff and laboratory and transport facilities were not needed. Enthusiastic co-operation and good will between hospital staff, voluntary helpers, and donors contributed greatly to the success of the scheme.