Indian women's knowledge and attitudes towards human milk banks and human donor milk


  • Fernandez Hospital Foundation, Department of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, Hyderabad, India
  • Osmania University College for Women, Department of Food and Nutrition, Hyderabad, India


Background: When breast milk is unavailable or insufficient, pasteurized human donor milk (HDM) from human milk banks (HMBs) is recommended. South Asian women's knowledge and attitudes towards HDM and HMBs are unknown. To establish HMBs and consequently increase exclusive use of breast milk, an understanding of this is required. Objectives: To assess maternal knowledge of HMBs, acceptability of HDM, willingness to donate and/or use HDM, and determinants of milk donation and/or use of HDM. Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted in four tertiary institutions in India using purposive convenience sampling and a structured questionnaire. Results: 419 women were enrolled. 83.77% were exclusively breastfeeding; with higher rates observed in public institutions (P<0.001). 14.79% had heard of HMBs. 10.3% were aware of HMBs in India. 74.22% were willing to donate milk. 61.57% were willing to use HDM. Altruism was the primary motivator for willingness to donate (72.55% ). Fear of milk insufficiency (39.13%) was the primary barrier. Women preferred to donate to family (73.31% ) and infants in need (68.17%) rather than HMBs (45.02%). Women preferred to receive milk from family (82.95% ) rather than HMBs (54.26%). Main barriers to acceptance of HDM were aversion (37.37% ) and convenience of formula (37.37%). Women at private institutions preferred formula to HDM (P<0.001). Women who believed HDM had health benefits (46.54%) were more willing (P<0.001) to donate milk and receive HDM. Conclusion: Awareness and acceptability of HMBs is poor but the majority had positive attitudes towards HDM. Targeted educational campaigns to promote HMBs are required.


Awareness and acceptability of HMBs is poor but the majority had positive attitudes towards HDM. Targeted educational campaigns to promote HMBs are required

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