More new mums are being asked to donate their breast milk to help the Human Milk Bank meet demands.
The Human Milk Bank, located in Enniskillen, collects milk to help babies all over Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Since reopening in December 2018 the Human Milk Bank has provided approximately 510 litres of breast milk to 27 neonatal units in hospitals across Ireland helping 278 babies
However, stocks are getting low this summer.
Elizabeth (Liz) Bailie, coordinator of the Western Trust Milk Bank said: “We are very grateful to all the mums who donate milk to the unit and there is always the need to recruit new donors.
“Human milk contains substances that cannot be synthesised, which help the babies fight viruses and bacteria. It has unique fats that help the immature brain, eye and nervous system develop better for improved intellect and sight, but probably most important for the premature baby it helps to protect the immature gut from Necrotizing Entero Colitis (NEC), a life threatening condition where the gut rupture. Breast milk also helps protect babies from pneumonia and septicaemia.”
Many of the babies who have received donated breast milk recently required gut surgery or heart surgery.
If you would like to be a donor, Elizabeth has this guidance:
Donors are required to be registered by the time baby reaches three months old and once registered the Milk Bank will accept milk donations up until the sixth month. All milk donations received must be in sterile milk bottles when expressed and donated into the service within three months of expression.
“Donors must be non-smokers, not had a blood transfusion, are not on drugs that pass into breastmilk and no had a tattoo, body piercing or acupuncture (unless you can provide a letter from your Acupuncturist regarding single use sterile needles), or have visited Malarial Countries in the last year are in good health.”
If you would like to find out more about the Milk Bank and becoming a donor please contact the Milk Bank on Tel: (028) 6862 8333 or email TMB.SWAH@westerntrust.hscni.net