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Minerva Pediatrics 2021 Sep 13

DOI: 10.23736/S2724-5276.21.06339-4

Copyright © 2021 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Women’s knowledge and attitude towards human milk donation: a survey within the Italian context

Virna F. ZOBBI 1, Simona FUMAGALLI 1, 2, Laura ANTOLINI 1, Alessia BIANCO 2, Maria MORNATTA 2, Elisabetta COLCIAGO 1 , Antonella NESPOLI 1

1 School of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano - Bicocca, Monza, Monza Brianza, Italy; 2 ASST Vimercate, Desio, Monza Brianza, Italy


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BACKGROUND: Human milk is the best nutrition for all infants. When this is not available, the use of donor human milk through human milk banks (HMBs), is recommended. The aim of the study is to explore Italian women’s knowledge and attitude towards human milk donation and HMB.
METHODS: A web-based self-administered 20-item questionnaire was developed based on the literature review and distributed via the social networking site Facebook.
RESULTS: 3290 women completed the survey. Of those 76.57% knew about the opportunity to donate human milk and 72.37% were aware of the existence of HMBs, most of them breastfed for more than 6 months. Altruism towards other mothers and having an abundant milk supply, were found to be the most important facilitators that should lead women to donate their own milk. The most important barrier was lack of information (91.25%). A high rate of women who breastfed longer than 6 months expressed issues related to collection and transportation; concerns regarding the time needed to express was reported mainly by women currently breastfeeding.
CONCLUSIONS: This is the first Italian study to investigate this topic. Advertising to inform the general public should be used to increase awareness, short sessions within the school programme might sensitize women from a very young age. Healthcare professionals should strive to divulgate appropriate information.


KEY WORDS: Human milk; Human milk banks; Donors; Human milk donation

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