You may not have heard of it – but provincial health officials are using Mother’s Day to highlight the importance of the milk bank.
Milk Bank Program Director Francis Jones says, the service run out of B.C Women’s Hospital in Vancouver provides pasteurized donor milk to moms and babies in need province-wide.
She says many recipients are premature babies.
“The biggest concern is something called necrotizing enterocolitis or NEC and it’s a bowel disease and there are a number of things that can affect a premature infants bowel but what they’re fed is a major factor.”
Jones adds that women who give birth to premature babies may be too sick to breastfeed, or may need more time for their own milk to come in.
While Royal Inland Hospital doesn’t yet have a formal agreement with the milk bank, Kamloops moms can both receive and donate.
“The health unit is doing a milk drive and what that means is that they are encouraging moms to sign up to be donors. They have to go through the screening by calling BC Women’s and we do the actual screening process and then once they are approved donors on the 31st of May they will be encouraged to bring their milk to the health unit, the folks there will pack it all and ship it to BC Women’s in Vancouver.”
She says many moms who have been recipients often later choose to become donors.