Rachel MacNamee

Breast milk repository open at Vic General

Babies across the province will receive locally donated milk

Some call it the nectar of life and some have more than enough to share.

Well that’s the hope at least, as nursing mothers on the West Shore and across the region will be able to donate their breast milk to benefit other babies.

“Breast milk is the optimal choice for infant nutrition,” said Gillian Kozinka, manager of Victoria General Hospital perinatal and neonatal services, in a release. “This new program benefits the tiniest, sickest babies in need, and we are grateful to the moms who have extra to give.”

Last week VGH became an official Donor Milk Collection Depot for the B.C. Women’s Provincial Milk Bank, located at the B.C. Women’s Hospital in Vancouver. The VGH depot will store frozen milk and transport it to Vancouver, where it will be pasteurized and distributed to neonatal intensive care units across the province.

“We’re pretty excited,” said Erin O’Sullivan, Island Health regional perinatal program lead.

“There’s a spot for postpartum women to donate.” Before, she noted, women on the south Island would have to co-ordinate the donation process on their own, at their own cost.

While the hope is that moms will produce enough of their own milk, that’s not always the case, she said, and when babies are born prematurely sometimes mothers’ milk can take a while to come in. It is often these premature babies that receive donor milk.

When babies are born prematurely they are often at risk for a number of diseases. O’Sullivan noted necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a common serious intestinal disease among preemies.

“The evidence tells us that having breast milk helps prevent acquiring NEC.”

She added, “it helps the mom over time knowing her baby is protected.”

Since the Provincial Milk Bank was launched in 1974, it has processed 43,000 litres of milk and screened more than 4,000 donors. The VGH depot is the 18th drop-off location in the province, with the rest located on the mainland.

O’Sullivan said the first goal of the local depot is to promote awareness, not just of the facility itself, but of the importance of breastfeeding.

“Human milk can be donated and is a safe option for these babies and we can all do our part,” she said. It also helps normalize breast milk as the optimal form of delivering nutrients to newborns. While she noted that not all moms can breastfeed, the depot and provincial bank help make “breast milk an option for infants wherever possible.”

Women who have been pre-screened can drop off their raw, frozen breast milk at the depot for donation. VGH’s depot will be located in the Mother Babe Unit on the third floor and will be open to approved donors between 1 and 3 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

“Nursing moms in Greater Victoria will be helping babies around the province by donating their extra milk to the provincial milk bank,” Health Minister Terry Lake said in a statement.

Typical donors are healthy women who are producing more milk than needed to feed their own babies. Bereaved mothers who have lost their infants may also choose to donate their extra milk. Donors are not paid and must also go through the Provincial Milk Bank’s pre-screening process before their milk will be accepted.

O’Sullivan noted this process is a “regulatory component for all milk banks in the world.”

If you are interested in becoming a donor, or would like to find out more, phone the Provincial Milk Bank at 604-875-3743 or go to bcwomens.ca and select the Our Services tab. The milk bank is listed under Labour, Birth and Post-Birth Care.

katie@goldstreamgazette.com

 

Just Posted

Victoria television producer makes documentary about opioid crisis

A Just Society includes 30 interviews filmed in Victoria, Duncan and Ladysmith

Hundreds of warning notes issued in first weeks of Victoria’s Sunday parking fees

The City of Victoria instated Sunday parking fees on May 1

St. Luke Cedar Hill Anglican Church hosts open house, spring cemetery clean up

Learn more about the region’s oldest cemetery May 25, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

More than 2,700 units of affordable homes underway in Greater Victoria

Units part of 20,000 that are underway in B.C.

B.C.’s fight to regulate bitumen through pipelines to go to Canada’s top court

BC Appeal Court judges found B.C. cannot restrict bitumen flow along Trans Mountain pipeline

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

B.C. man who fell off cliff returns there to rescue eagle from vulture attack

Nanaimo’s James Farkas, who broke his hip in a fall, saves eagle on same beach months later

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

Most Read