The B.C. Women’s Provincial Milk Bank has sent the first regular shipment of human donor milk to the Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) at Surrey Memorial Hospital and Royal Columbian Hospital.
Mothers who want to give milk to babies in need can collect and freeze their milk, complete screening and drop it off at a milk collection depot, including one in Abbotsford. Over the past year, Fraser Health has established milk collection depots at all of its public health units around the Lower Mainland.
These shipments mark the completion of the first phase of a provincial initiative to expand the capacity of the Provincial Milk Bank to support B.C.’s tiniest, most vulnerable babies with safe, regulated donor human milk.
For sick and premature babies, the early days of life can be tough as they are at high risk for infection and complications. Milk from a baby’s mother is always the first choice, but new mothers may face challenges that prevent them from providing their own milk or breastfeeding.
When mother’s own milk is not available, pasteurized donor human milk is the next best option.
The demand for pasteurized donor human milk continuously exceeds supply, and the milk bank and Fraser Health are always looking for healthy mothers who have more breast milk than they need for their own baby.
Milk donated to these depots is stored and transported to the milk bank where it is pasteurized. Pasteurized milk is then shipped to the NICUs at Royal Columbian and Surrey Memorial Hospitals.
More information about becoming a milk donor and the screening process is available at http://www.bcwomensmilkbank.ca.