Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Characteristics of breast milk and serology of women donating breast milk to a milk bank
  1. P C Lindemann1,
  2. I Foshaugen2,
  3. R Lindemann1,2
  1. 1Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Depart-ment of Paediatrics, Ullevål University Hospital, NO-0407 Oslo, Norway
  2. 2The Milk Bank, Ullevål University Hospital
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr R Lindemann
    Department of Paediatrics, Ullevål University Hospital, NO-0407 Oslo, Norway;


Objective: Breast milk is the most important nutrient to all newborn babies. If the mother’s milk production is insufficient, it is important to provide donor breast milk without reduction of its immunologic and antimicrobial properties. Early use of breast milk to preterm infants has shown a reduced incidence of necrotising enterocolitis, a faster tolerance of enteral feeding, and a reduced need of parenteral nutrition. It is important to have milk from a CMV-IgG negative donor to VLBW infants considered immunocompromised.

Methods: Between January 1st and December 31st 2001, 69 women delivered 1.973 litres (mean 28.6 litres/woman/year). 73% had college education, were primipara, and with a mean age of 30.7 years. Those who smoked, used alcohol or any medications were refused as donors. They started to deliver approximately 7 weeks after having given birth and continued for a mean of 4 months. Each milk sample was tested for bacterial growth. Every donor was screened for HIV, CMV-IgG and hepatitis B/C before donating milk and thereafter every third month.

Results: 62.3% was CMV-IgG positive. Samples containing staphylococcus aureus, klebsialla-, enterobacter- and serratia-species or E. coli, and all samples containing > 104 cfu/ml were pasteurised. Overall, only 10.5% of the samples were pasteurised.

Conclusion: It is possible and important to provide VLBW babies with fresh frozen unpasteurised CMV-IgG negative breast milk until their own mothers’ milk production is sufficient.

  • CMV, cytomegalovirus
  • VLBW, very low birthweight
  • breast milk
  • prematurity
  • milk bank
  • pasteurisation
  • cytomegalovirus
  • necrotising enterocolitis

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.