Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Health News

The Gift of Health

More human milk collection depots and dispensaries planned in the Fraser Valley

Released by Fraser Health Authority


ach 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 important?
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 baby.

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 here.

Once you have been accepted as a donor, you may drop your milk off at any of our Fraser Health locations:

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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