B.C.’s breast-milk bank calls for donations as demand outpaces supply (VCH)

When Lauren Mathany’s twin girls were born at only 24 weeks, each weighing under 1.5 pounds, the tiny babies were in need of milk — but recovering from surgery, Mathany was unable to breastfeed. Instead, twins girls Isla and Hazel received donated breast milk from the province’s milk bank.

“We felt very lucky the girls could receive the donor milk,” said Mathany, recalling the two days in BC Women’s Hospital when then the twins relied on donated milk while she recovered. “We know how important it is, especially for very premature babies to have the nutrients and antibodies that breast milk has.”

Parto said donor mothers who are non-smoking and pass the milk bank’s health screening and who are able to produce more milk than their baby needs, can donate to their local banks. Vancouver Coastal Health, which partners with the PHSA to operate the banks, has five milk bank depots in the Metro Vancouver area. There, the milk is stored in freezers until enough is collected to ship to the provincial processing centres. where milk is tested, pasteurized for safety and stored until it is needed.

Cherise Seucharan reports. 

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