Vancouver, BC - With locations now across Richmond, Vancouver, Squamish and West Vancouver, Public Health nurses are hoping more mothers will donate their extra breast milk for premature and sick babies via the BC Women's Provincial Milk Bank.
"With a helping hand from donated breast milk and even more milk depots opening, babies will have a better chance to thrive," said Health Minister Terry Lake. "We have long known the benefits of human milk for vulnerable babies, so now we're making it even easier to donate milk to help babies in need."
"We know human milk is the best food for babies, but some new mothers face challenges that prevent them from breastfeeding," says Maureen Lister, Public Health Nurse, Vancouver Coastal Health. "Donor milk has active beneficial properties and is similar to mother's own milk. It provides babies with antibodies to fight disease and infection, which is especially vital for premature or babies battling medical conditions."
Mothers who donate breast milk can now drop off their milk at three new locations in Vancouver and one new location in Richmond. A fifth location, in Vancouver, will open in the fall.
- Squamish Community Health Centre – opens August 2
- Raven Song Community Health Centre - opens August 2
- West Vancouver Community Health Centre - opens August 2
- Richmond Public Health - opens August 2
- Evergreen Community Health Centre – opens fall 2016
The milk will be delivered to the BC Women’s Provincial Milk Bank where it will be screened and pasteurized, then distributed to the babies most in need at neonatal intensive care units.
“It is wonderful that Vancouver Coastal Health is opening five depots,” says Frances Jones, coordinator, Lactation Services and BC Women’s Provincial Milk Bank. “This will help increase the number of donors to the BC Women’s Provincial Milk Bank, as it will make it easier for mothers to donate their extra milk. With more donors we will be able to help more of B.C.’s most fragile infants.”
New mom Alexandra Allen has donated 85 litres of breast milk so far, that’s enough to fill four kitchen sinks. She lives in Richmond so now dropping off her donations locally will be more convenient, on top of always being rewarding.
“When I’ve dropped off my milk I’ve seen the parents picking up donated milk,” says Allen. “I think, my milk might be going to their baby. Those parents must be feeling so relieved. I can get a little of that joy by association by knowing I am helping.”
The demand for donor human milk continuously exceeds supply, and the BC Women’s Provincial Milk Bank and VCH is always looking for healthy mothers who have more breast milk than they need for their own baby.
To learn more about the drop off locations and donating milk please visit www.vch.ca
The World Health Organization recommends providing only breast milk to babies until approximately six months of age for healthy growth and development. With the addition of nutritious, complementary table foods at around six months babies can continue to be breastfed until two years old and beyond.
VCH is responsible for the delivery of $3.4 billion in community, hospital and residential care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola.