The Human Milk Bank at KBC Zagreb has collected almost three thousand liters of milk from nursing mothers since its establishment in 2020. Over 250 mothers have donated milk, which has been used to feed almost a thousand premature babies. The bank operates under the Croatian Tissue and Cell Bank of KBC Zagreb.
Nursing mothers donate their surplus milk to the bank, which their own child does not need in such quantities. The donated human milk goes to premature babies in various hospitals around Croatia. The milk is given to babies in incubators whose mothers have not yet established lactation or cannot breastfeed. The milk significantly reduces severe intestinal inflammation in premature babies and helps them develop and grow better, have fewer infections, and be more resistant.
There are currently twenty to thirty female donors at any given time, with some donating for three months and others for much longer. Donors must be healthy women, and their blood and home conditions are checked regularly. The milk pumps are sterilized, and the health and nutritional value of the milk is closely monitored.
Although the number of donors has decreased since the bank’s establishment, the amount of milk donated has increased significantly. The milk is distributed to hospitals in various cities in Croatia. There is never a shortage of human milk, but new donors are always needed when mothers stop lactating. Despite this, the act of donating is full of altruism and plays a crucial role in providing care for premature babies.