Views of Muslim mothers in Turkey on breast milk donation and human milk banks
Background & Aim: In many countries, human milk banks (HMBs) are included in children's health policies and regulations and are supported as an extension of national breastfeeding policies. Currently, there are no active HMBs in Turkey. This study aimed to evaluate the attitude, knowledge, and views of mothers about breast milk donation and HMBs.
Methods & Materials: This descriptive study was conducted in a university hospital postnatal clinic in Eskişehir between January and April 2019. The study population comprised of 250 multipara mothers. Data were collected with the help of a questionnaire comprising three sections.
Results: Only 28.4% of mothers knew about HMBs. A total of 40.8% of mothers indicated that they were against the establishment of HMBs in Turkey. However, only 61 mothers (24.4%) approved of obtaining milk from HMBs. Mothers who did not agree to the establishment of HMBs (77.5%) stated that babies who are fed with breast milk from the same mother would be milk siblings, and it would be an ethical problem if they got married to each other.
Conclusion: Most mothers are hesitant to donate their milk to HMBs, mostly due to religious concerns. Even in a group of Turkish Muslim populations whose sociocultural level can be considered high, resistance against HMBs is thoughtful. It is essential to organize public campaigns, especially through social media, to raise awareness of HMBs. When the results of the study were taken into account, it is believed that an HMB model where the donors and recipients meet each other is necessary.
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