Human Milk Matters - Human Milk Cares
Our awareness campaign for the value of human milk
Human milk contains numerous protective components, which are incredibly beneficial for the babies’ growth and development – especially for babies born preterm or sick.
With the Human Milk Matters – Human Milk Cares campaign, we are raising awareness for the enormous health benefits for babies born preterm or sick. We also highlight the nutritional value of mother’s own milk and the important role donor milk and human milk banks play. We believe it is important to inform parents, professionals and political decision-makers about the benefits and the great value of human milk.
Key features of this campaign are:
- Providing facts and further information on human milk
- Giving insights behind the scenes of milk banks and safe milk donation
- Experts recommendations and statements
- Experiences of milk donors and former patients
- Highlighting the safety aspect and the need for an EU regulation and EU-wide standardised practices
- The role of fortification to meet the high and complex nutritional needs of very preterm babies
We invite you to download the material and use it for your own social media messaging. These materials are free of charge and available for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Please tag us @efcni and be sure to use #HumanMilkMatters and #HumanMilkCares to help us find and like your posts.
Expert video statement
Why Human Milk Matters
We spoke with experts in the field of nutrition, neonatology, neuroscience, and politcal science to learn about the tremendous importance of human milk on the healthy development of newborns, especially of those born too soon and too small.
Watch our video talk with Professor Roy K. Philip, Consultant Neonatologist at the University Maternity Hospital in Limerick, Ireland, in which he explains in which he explains what fortification of human milk actually is, when it is used and why, as well as the different types of fortification.
Happy watching and check out our entire video playlist here.
#BehindTheScenes info graphics
19 May - World Day of Human Milk Donation
19 May is annually celebrated as the World Day of Human Milk Donation to promote the importance of human milk donations globally. Worldwide, estimated 15 million babies are born preterm each year – that means 1 baby in 10 worldwide is born preterm. The WHO recommends to provide donor human milk especially for low-birthweight babies, if mother’s own milk is insufficient, unavailable or contraindicated.
Research has confirmed that human milk has significant advantages for preterm babies in terms of the babies’ growth and development:
- Short term effects are: better feed tolerance, prevention of retinopathy of prematurity, lower risk of necrotising enterocolitis and sepsis, reduced length of hospital stay.
- Long term outcomes are: lower risk of cardiovascular disorders and better neurological outcome (improved cognitive, behavioural, and real-world academic performance, higher IQ, better receptive language, etc).
Today there are over 750 human milk banks in 66 countries. About 90% of human milk donated to milk banks goes out to hospital NICUs for preterm or sick babies to use. Human donor milk is also given out to families who have already been discharged, but still need some human milk until the mothers’ own milk comes in.
Thanks to all the donors of human milk! Let’s spread the word to promote the importance of human milk donations.
Experiences from human milk donors
“I’ve seen so many friends struggle with making enough milk for their babies, so when I was blessed with an oversupply of breast milk, I knew I wanted my excess to help the babies who needed it the most. It’s so rewarding knowing that my daughter, and so many other babies, are benefiting from my breast milk.”
“There are so many rewarding aspects to this journey. I adore being able to help so many babies and be a part of their stories in a meaningful way. I feel like I am part of something that is so much bigger than I could have imagined. I have also continued to breastfeed Emilio throughout this journey and plan to continue doing so!”
Join the campaign!
Download the #WorldDayofHumanMilkDonation material and use it for your own social media messaging. These materials are free of charge and available for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Please tag us @efcni and be sure to use #EveryDropCounts to help us find and like your posts.
Social Media materials
- on fortifiers in donor milk Facebook/Instagram and Twitter
- on Human Milk Matters Facebook/Instagram
- on intestinal infections Facebook/Instagram and Twitter
- on donor milk Facebook/Instagram and Twitter
- on human milk fat Facebook/Instagram and Twitter
- on HMOs Facebook/Instagram and Twitter
- on lactoferrin Facebook/Instagram and Twitter
- on mothers who breastfeed Facebook/Instagram and Twitter
- on NEC Facebook/Instagram and Twitter
- on highblood pressure Facebook/Instagram and Twitter
- on cytokines Facebook/Instagram and Twitter
- on more scientific evidence Facebook/Instagram and Twitter
- on breast milk of mothers of preterm babies Facebook/Instagram and Twitter
- on fortification of human milk Facebook/Instagram and Twitter
- on lower rates of metabolic syndrome Facebook/Instagram and Twitter
- on human milk fat Facebook/Instagram and Twitter
- on lactose in human milk Facebook/Instagram and Twitter
- on performance in IQ-test Facebook/Instagram and Twitter
- on HMOs to promote a healthy gut Facebook/Instagram and Twitter
- on preterm babies sleep Facebook/Instagram and Twitter
Resources and further readings
- EMBA, „World Day of Human Milk Donation 2021; Every Donation Tells A Story“, Stand: April 2023.
- Althabe F, Howson CP, Kinney M, Lawn J, World Health Organization. Born too soon: the global action report on preterm birth. 2012. Available from: www.who.int/pmnch/media/news/2012/201204_borntoosoon-report.pdf
- EFCNI, “Key facts preterm birth“
EFCNI warmly thanks the Union of European Neonatal & Perinatal Societies (UENPS), for their great support and collaboration:
The Human Milk Matters – Human Milk Cares campaign was independently developed and is powered by EFCNI.