Reserves are running low at the BC Provincial Milk Bank, and the program is asking nursing moms to consider donating breast milk.
The milk is collected from depots throughout Fraser Health communities, including in Abbotsford, and used at the neonatal intensive care units at Surrey Memorial Hospital and Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster.
For sick and premature babies, the early days of life can be tough, as they are a 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.
But the demand for this milk continuously exceeds supply, and the Provincial Milk Bank and Fraser Health are always looking for healthy mothers who have more breast milk than they need for their own baby.
Mothers who want to give milk to babies in need can collect and freeze their milk and drop it off at a collection depot – located at all public health units, including in Abbotsford.
A screening process includes a short verbal and written questionnaire, as well as a blood test.
The donations are then transported to the milk bank – located at BC Women’s Hospital in Vancouver – where it is pasteurized and then shipped to the two participating hospitals.
In 2014, just over 10,000 ounces of milk were donated in Abbotsford. That number dropped significantly to 2,800 ounces in 2015.
Up to June 30 of this year, about 2,400 ounces had been donated from the community.
Drop-off times in Abbotsford can be confirmed by calling the public health unit at 604-864-3400.
Visit bcwomens.ca and search “milk bank” for more information.