Donated human milk can be life-saving for tiny

More breast milk donations needed

Fraser Health is calling for donors, especially in communities like Cloverdale, where there's been a dramatic drop in donations.

Got milk? More nursing moms are needed to help bolster the supply of breast milk.

Donations have dropped dramatically in some communities in the eastern Fraser Valley, including Cloverdale, Fraser Health Authority spokesperson Tasleem Juma said this week.

Last year, breast-feeding mothers in Cloverdale donated 110,840 ml (3,719 ounces) of breast milk. Donations so far in 2015 are much lower at just 16,138 ml, or 538 ounces.

Human milk is a valuable resource. It’s used to help tiny, sick babies in Neonatal Intensive Care Units in the health region, where the need is increasing – but the supply is not, Juma said.

Human milk can save lives of premature babies, who are prone to infections and illness. Not all of them can tolerate supplemental formula.

How the program works:

Women who are currently breastfeeding can visit www.bcwomensmilkbank.ca to complete a quick screening to see if they’re eligible to donate any extra breast milk.

One fully screened by the Provincial Milk Bank, potential donors will need to have blood work done at a local lab. Their doctor is contacted to confirm that both the donating mother and baby are health and thriving. And that’s it, says Juma.

Mothers pump their milk, store it in the freezer using milk storage bags, and drop donations off at their local milk collection depot. (A minimum of 150 ounces or 4,500 ml is usually required). In Cloverdale, the depot located at the Cloverdale Health Unit, at 17700 56 Avenue. (604-575-5100).

Every health unit in Fraser Health is now a milk collection depot, including the Cloverdale Health Unit at 17710 56 Avenue (call 604-575-5100), Newton Health Unit, North Surrey Health Unit, and White Rock Health Unit.

For more information, visit bcwomensmilkbank.ca.

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