Haryana Health and Medical Education Minister Rao Narender Singh has assured state government's help for setting up a human milk bank.
The minister took part in a meeting of the national consultative committee to formulate guidelines on human milk banking in India in Gurgaon on Sunday. The daylong consultative meeting was organised jointly by government of India, Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) of Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) and Smt Santra Devi Health and Education Trust Gurgaon.
It was stated in the meeting that at present, there were 10 milk banks in the country out of which five were in Mumbai. The minister said that mother's milk is must for proper development of the child and no substitute can replicate its nutritious value. He said that where it is not possible for the biological mother to feed, the first alternative should be the use of human milk. He said that breast milk is a unique nutritional source that cannot adequately be replaced by any other food, including infant formula milk.
Recalling the old days, Rao said that when joint family system was prevalent in Haryana, aunts often used to feed their breast milk to the infants in absence of their mothers but now in nuclear families it has become a challenge to get breast milk in absence of child's mother. The donor (wet nurse) would also get God's blessings as she is saving a life by feeding her milk to someone else's child, the minister said. However, he said that great amount of motivation would be required to make people volunteer.