Tuesday, May 6, 2014
The Gift of Health
More human milk
collection depots and dispensaries planned in the Fraser Valley
Released by Fraser Health Authority
year, approximately 17,000 babies are born in Fraser Health. To help
our tiniest patients get the best possible start in life, Fraser
Health encourages all moms to breastfeed to provide their babies
with the optimal nutrition they need to grow and thrive.
Occasionally, for a
variety of reasons, a mother is unable to fully breastfeed or
produce milk. When this happens, the next best choice for feeding
her baby is pasteurized donor human milk, which comes from mothers
who are breastfeeding their own babies and who have milk to spare.
To make it easier for breastfeeding moms to donate their milk,
Fraser Health has opened donor human milk collection depots in the
Hope, Agassiz, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Maple Ridge, Mission,
Langley, Cloverdale, Guildford, North Surrey, New Westminster,
Newport and Burnaby Health Units. Women who have been screened can
drop off their frozen donated milk at any one of these depots. Milk
donated to Fraser Health is stored and transported to the provincial
milk bank at BC Women's Hospital where it is pooled, processed and
pasteurized. Most of the pasteurized milk is used to feed premature
and sick babies who are at high risk for illness and infection.
"The more milk received at Fraser Health donor human milk collection
depots, the greater the opportunity for moms and babies across
Fraser Health to benefit", said Sidney Harper, Project Development
Nurse, Baby Friendly Initiative, Fraser Health. "With Mother's Day
just around the corner, we are asking all breastfeeding moms to
consider giving the gift of health to our most fragile patients by
donating their breast milk."
Fraser Health is also planning to open donor human milk dispensaries
at Royal Columbian Hospital and Surrey Memorial Hospital, which had
previously functioned as collection depots. These new dispensaries
will store pasteurized donor human milk, which will be available to
the tiniest babies being cared for in our NICUs.
"At BC Women's Provincial Milk Bank, our goal is to meet all
requests for pasteurized donor milk from the NICUs at Royal
Columbian Hospital and Surrey Memorial Hospital", said Frances
Jones, Coordinator, BC Women's Hospital Provincial Milk Bank,
Provincial Health Services Authority. "We appreciate our wonderful
donors who give the gift of milk to support mothers and meet the
needs of their babies. With Mother's Day almost here, it's a time to
celebrate those who donate milk, from one mother to another,
providing a gift that lasts a lifetime for families."
Breastfeeding is the best option for most babies. Breast milk
provides optimal nutrition and offers immune factors that protect
babies from infections and diseases. The World Health Organization
recommends that no other food besides breast milk be given to babies
until approximately six months of age. With the addition of
nutritious, complementary table foods, babies should continue to be
breastfed until two years old and beyond.
Why is milk donation
The majority of donated milk is used to feed premature and sick
babies who are at high risk for illness and infection. Necrotizing
enterocolitis (NEC), a devastating bowel disease, is much more
common in premature babies who are fed formula compared with those
babies fed human milk. Some mothers whose babies are born premature
struggle to establish their milk supply and keep it going well
enough to meet their baby's needs. Sometimes the mother is ill or
may be on medications that don't permit her to feed her milk to her
Human milk is a highly complex fluid which contains proteins, fats,
vitamins, minerals as well as growth factors which help babies grow
and develop, and antibodies that help fight infections.
How do I donate milk?
All donors must complete a simple
screening process, facilitated through BC Women's Hospital
before they can be accepted. Donors will be asked to complete a
short verbal and written questionnaire. Their doctor or midwife will
be consulted, and blood tests will be done at a local lab. The blood
tests include: HIV-1, HIV-2, HTLV-1, HTVV-2, Syphilis, Hepatitis B
and Hepatitis C. To read more about the screening process, visit
Once you have been accepted as a donor, you may drop your milk off
at any of our Fraser Health
How do I become a recipient of donor milk?
Distribution of milk is done on medical priority with the most
medically fragile infants being at the top of the list. All
recipients must have a physician/midwife order for donor milk. When
the milk bank has plenty of milk most requests are honoured but when
the supply is more limited the priority list is used to determine
who receives milk.
Who is accepted as a donor?
Donors are healthy mothers who have completed the screening process
and who are able to produce more milk than their babies need.
Why is the milk pasteurized?
Human milk is pasteurized to ensure a safe product. Human milk
pasteurization maintains most of the anti-infective and nutritional
properties of fresh human milk.
How much milk do I need to donate?
Mothers need to be certain they meet the needs of their own infant
first. Because of the cost of screening, we screen mothers only when
they are able to donate at least 4 -5 Litres (150 oz.) of milk.
How much time will collection take?
The time it takes to collect milk varies. Some mothers find that if
they pump 30 to 60 mls (1-2 ounces) each day they have enough milk
collected within several weeks.
How do I store the milk?
Milk can be stored in the clean food safe plastic or glass
containers or milk storage bags. Baggies may not be used. Please
place it in the coldest part of the freezer - usually at the back.
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