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MINI REVIEW
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 25-28

How milk banks can help bereaved mothers


1 Department of Psychiatry, NIMHANS, St. John's Medical College and Hospital, St. John's National Academy of Health Sciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, St. John's Medical College and Hospital, St. John's National Academy of Health Sciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Psychiatry, JSS Medical College and Hospital, JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research, Mysore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. M Kishor
Department of Psychiatry, JSS Medical College and Hospital, JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research, Mysore - 570 004, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijhas.IJHAS_92_18

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The process of lactation continues to occur irrespective of the survival of the child, through hormonal cascades triggered over the course of physiological changes of pregnancy. This leads to a difficult predicament in bereaved mothers, where loss, grief as well as lactation have to be dealt with in addition to enduring the physical pain of childbirth. In these cases, lactation is hardly addressed during the pre- or postnatal period, leading to a significant amount of distress in the mother. Guidance regarding options of suppression, expression, and donation of breast milk along with knowledge and easy accessibility to human milk banks which specifically cater to bereaved mothers can be provided, so as to alleviate confusion and aid in informed decision-making. This paper highlights the psychological benefits of lactation in the grieving mother, which include downregulation of stress response, shortening of the grieving period, improved self-efficacy, and risk reduction for mood disorders during the postpartum period in prospective donors. It emphasizes the need for expansion of the human milk bank network to offer larger coverage and also suggests potential interventions to enhance awareness about milk banking in health-care professionals as well as the general public, ultimately leading to positive outcomes in both high-risk infants and mothers with infant loss, which are major health concerns in India and need pressing attention.


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