Human Milk Banks – biobanking for preterms and newborns

Review Article, Pol J Public Health 2021;131: 82-84

Anna Bartko, Anna Zagaja, Jakub Pawlikowski

Department of Humanities and Social Medicine, Medical University of Lublin, Poland

DOI_disc_logo 10.2478/pjph-2021-0016

© 2021 Medical University of Lublin. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonComercial-No Derivs licence (


Breast milk banks are specialized hospital-located laboratories. Their role is to provide breast milk to newborns and infants who, for various reasons, cannot be fed with their mother’s milk. They are an inseparable part of intensive neonatal care units and an element of the mother and child care system. They are financed by hospitals in which they operate. Milk is obtained from donors, thoroughly examined, pasteurized and passed directly to children in need. Food recipients are mainly premature babies in the neonatal intensive care unit. As proven by numerous scientific studies, breast milk is the most appropriate food for newborns and infants. Breast milk is also recommended by Polish, foreign and international organizations and institutions involved in nu- tritional problems of children.

There are 226 Breast Milk Banks in Europe (first organized in 1909 in Vienna) and the organization of additional 16 is planned. In Poland there are only 9 banks and two more are in the organizational phase. Breast milk banks in Poland operate on the basis of in-hospital regulations. The European Association of Milk Banks strives to unify the procedures of conduct in all units, including Poland.

Keywords: Breast Milk Bank, lactation, preterm baby, milk donors.

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