Celebrating World Day of Human Milk Donation

Alive & Thrive is pleased to join partners around the world to celebrate World Day of Human Milk Donation. The photo mosaic featured in the video below is a tribute to human milk donors and professionals working together across the world to promote human milk donation.

Globally, an estimated 15 million babies are born prematurely every year and prematurity is the leading cause of death in children under 5. Making safe, pasteurized donor milk available to all at-risk, sick, and premature infants worldwide without access to their own mothers’ milk saves lives. Donor milk can also act as a bridge to support mothers who need time and help to be able to establish their own milk supply and breastfeed their babies.

This year, milk bank leaders have come together to build a global alliance to enable sharing of optimal practices in milk banking, which is especially important during the unprecedented challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The gift of breastmilk lies at the heart of the work of human milk banks” said Gillian Weaver, Co-Founder of the Human Milk Foundation and a leader of the Global Alliance of Milk Banks and Associations. “Almost 700 milk banks operate in 65 countries around the world. On this special day, all who support and benefit from their work can come together to celebrate the unique donation that milk donors make to other mothers and their premature sick infants. Every drop really does make a difference!”

“A human milk bank is an essential component of breastfeeding-friendly health systems, giving all at-risk infants access to the benefits of breast milk when they need it most.” said Roger Mathisen, Program Director of Alive & Thrive’s Southeast Asia office. “The global alliance now has more than 80 members from 36 countries who have come together to create a global milk bank movement in support of breastfeeding.”

Read more about human milk banking in this Lancet article: Maintaining safety and service provision in human milk banking: a call to action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic