Could you be a Milk Bank Donor?
There has been a donor milk bank at the Princess Royal University Hospital (formerly Farnborough Hospital) for a very long time: probably more than 40 years. Since 1995, Karen Lewis and Jean Rea (NCT breastfeeding counsellors, employed at the hospital) have been running the service, providing pasteurised donor breastmilk for premature and sick babies.
Why donate milk to a milk bank?
Breastmilk is easily digested by these vulnerable babies and helps protect them from infection. Mothers’ own milk is always the first choice but when babies are born premature and/or sick, new mothers cannot always provide enough expressed breastmilk to begin with. Donor bank milk helps bridge the gap until the mother’s own milk is available in sufficient quantities.
Extending the service
The PRUH is now now part of the new South London Healthcare Trust and the Milk Bank finds itself in the exciting yet challenging position of needing to extend our service so that babies in the Special Care Baby Unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich can also enjoy the benefits of breastmilk.
More donors required to meet increased need
The Milk Bank needs more donors to help to meet the increased need for donor milk. If you are breastfeeding a baby under 6 months old and would be prepared to collect milk for the milk bank, Jean or Karen would love to hear from you.
How does it work
Donors express and freeze their milk at home. The Milk Bank provides sterile collecting bottles and labels and collects milk regularly – so that you still have room for your weekly shopping as well as your store of bank milk! The Milk Bank has to ask all donors a few questions about their lifestyle: any medication they are taking and intake of alcohol and caffeine. They cannot accept milk from mothers who smoke.
To find out more
For more information on milk banking
More information is available on the UK Association for Milk Banking (UKAMB) website: www.ukamb.org.