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Breastfeeding women’s network donates over 6,800 litres of milk to T.N. govt. hospitals in three years

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A network of breastfeeding mothers donated over 6,800 litres of milk to human milk banks functioning in government hospitals across Tamil Nadu from 2021 to 2023. Amirtham Breast Milk Donation, a voluntary non-governmental organisation that had its humble beginning in 2017, has become the key donor to government-run human milk banks.

In 2023, members of the NGO donated 3,547.22 litres of milk. They donated 1,143 litres 2021 and 2,116 litres in 2022.

Roopa Selvanayaki, 32, founder of Amirtham Breastmilk Donation, said that around 400 breastfeeding mothers donate approximately 300 litres of milk to human milk banks every month.

“Over 30 volunteers are engaged in the collection of mother’s milk from the houses of donors and hand over them to the human milk banks in government hospitals in their respective districts. Breast milk collection bags are either purchased by donors themselves or supplied by the volunteers, when we get them through sponsors,” said Ms. Selvanayaki, who hails from Avinashi in Tiruppur and married to Senthil Nathan of Coimbatore.


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According to her, breast milk stored in collection bags can be kept at room temperature for four hours, two days in the refrigerator, one month in the freezer and six months in deep frozen condition, which is done in milk banks.

Mother’s milk stored in milk banks of government hospitals is largely used for feeding newborns who are admitted to Special Neonatal Care Units and Neonatal Intensive Care Units for conditions, including premature birth and low birth weight.

“Apart from organising voluntary mother’s milk donation, the network also engages in scientific parenting guidance, lactation education and awareness activities of breast milk donation,” added Ms. Selvanayaki, who herself donated milk for 27 months continuously and breastfed her daughter Ashvika for four-and-a-half years.

Started in Coimbatore, Amirtham Breastmilk Donation has extended services to Puducherry and parts of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

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