Banking on breast milk


On 4 April, Shilpa Bharadwaj was admitted to a government hospital in Sanagneri Gate, Jaipur, as soon as she experienced the first twinge of labour pain. Later that day, she delivered a healthy boy. Twelve hours later, she died of complications. Her family, wracked with grief, had to turn its attention to the more pressing issue of the newborn’s immediate nutritional needs.

A July 2018 report, Capture The Moment, by Unicef and the World Health Organisation (WHO), says delaying breastfeeding after birth can be life threatening. A 2016 Unicef-WHO report (Nurturing The Health And Wealth Of Nations: The Investment Case For Breastfeeding) notes that India, along with Indonesia, China, Mexico and Nigeria, accounts for more than 236,000 child deaths every year due to inadequate breastfeeding.

Bharadwaj’s family, aware of the importance of breastfeeding, was worried the infant might turn into one such statistic.

“That’s when a common friend introduced us to an employee of the Mahatma Gandhi Hospital, who informed us of the Amrit Milk Bank, started by a local not-for-profit organization called the Inaya Foundation and the hospital together. We could get bottles of pasteurized donor human milk there," says Gaurav Bharadwaj, Shilpa’s brother-in-law. The family sent Gaurav to collect bottles from the bank on Tonk Road, on the outskirts of Jaipur. The doctor recommended at least 10 bottles a day for the newborn—with one bottle of 30ml milk every 2 hours. The hospital gave around 25 bottles. “It is because we suffered a tragedy that we learnt of the existence of such services. It has been life-saving for the baby," says Gaurav.Read more

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“That’s when a common friend introduced us to an employee of the Mahatma Gandhi Hospital, who informed us of the Amrit Milk Bank, started by a local not-for-profit organization called the Inaya Foundation and the hospital together. We could get bottles of pasteurized donor human milk there," says Gaurav Bharadwaj, Shilpa’s brother-in-law. The family sent Gaurav to collect bottles from the bank on Tonk Road, on the outskirts of Jaipur. The doctor recommended at least 10 bottles a day for the newborn—with one bottle of 30ml milk every 2 hours. The hospital gave around 25 bottles. “It is because we suffered a tragedy that we learnt of the existence of such services. It has been life-saving for the baby," says Gaurav.


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