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 council denies VicPD coverage for Employer’s Health Tax

Several cuts to police costs have dropped the proposed municipal tax from 4.3 to 3.9 per cent

VicPD officer saves man overdosing on opioids

The man was found lying on the sidewalk early Thursday morning

Protective human chain to form around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders invited to stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

UVic hosts forum on state of democracy with scholars from around the globe

Forum takes places Friday in Ceremonial Hall in First Peoples House at the University of Victoria

New role created to mediate on-site harassment for construction employers

Across the province Builders Code Advisors will work to retain more employees

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

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

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Police watchdog investigating after man falls out third-storey window in Vancouver

The man fell to the ground and was taken to hospital with serious injuries

Cheetahs will not prosper in Creston: Permit rejected for two big cats

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

GM announces jobs, electric vehicle after Trump criticism

The company says it will spend $300 million at its plant in Orion Township

Trucker who caused Broncos crash likely to be deported: lawyer

The Crown has asked that Sidhu serve 10 years in prison

China chemical plant blast kills 47, injures hundreds more

This is one of China’s worst industrial accidents in recent years

Montreal priest stabbed while celebrating morning mass

The incident happened Friday morning at Montreal’s St. Joseph’s Oratory

Most Read