Tanisha Is Tops For Milk Bank

A Forth Valley Mum is thought to be the youngest in Scotland to donate breast milk to the national milk bank hosted by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

Tanisha Cooper, who is 21, has been presented with a special certificate to celebrate her achievement, which coincides with the start of World Breastfeeding Week (1st – 7th August 2021).

Tanisha wanted to give milk to repay the gift of donor milk when she had her first child. She explained: “When I had my little girl six and a half weeks early in 2018, she was taken to the NHS Forth Valley’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to be looked after. Whilst I was waiting for my milk coming in I didn’t have enough to cover all her feeds so she received donated milk. It was a literal lifesaver for my little girl. It allowed her to build her strength and relieved some of the pressure on me too. It was so important to me for her to get all benefits of breast milk, even if it wasn’t mine at first, to help her with her difficult start to life.”

When Tanisha gave birth to her second baby at 37 weeks, she says she was blessed with an amazing amount of milk and asked her midwife how to donate. She was pointed towards the national milk bank and, after an email and phone call, the process was under way. All donors to the bank are screened and the donated milk is heat treated.

“I have absolutely loved expressing for the bank, as well as exclusively feeding my son. The experiencing of donating is so simple yet incredibly rewarding. The organisation is so fundamental to those tiny babies in neonatal units across Scotland. I am so proud to be a small part.”

NHS Forth Valley’s Infant Feeding Co-ordinator, Lesley Hetherington, said: “It is heart-warming to see a young mother being such a positive role model and I hope Tanisha’s story will inspire other mothers to try and breastfeed. In NHS Forth Valley nearly 62 %, compared with 65% for Scotland 65%, of babies are either breastfed or receive breastmilk at birth.

“Everyone has a role to support mothers to breastfeed and to promote breastfeeding as the natural way to feed a baby. Breastfeeding, particularly in the early days, can be difficult and challenging and mothers need support from not only from their health professionals but from their community, family and friends.”

World Breastfeeding Week is designed to promote breastfeeding and its many benefits for mother and child. These include a lower risk of a mother developing breast and ovarian cancer as well as reducing the risk of fractures later in life. Breastfed babies are likely to have a reduced risk of infection, particularly those affecting the ear, respiratory tract and gastro-intestinal tract. Other benefits include a reduced risk of childhood obesity and there is an association with improved brain development.

Featured image: A relaxed Tanisha feeding baby and having her Covid-19 vaccination at the same time!