Brisbane breast milk bank urgently needs donations to help save premature babies
One of Australia’s largest donor banks for breast milk, which many mothers of premature babies rely on to feed their infants, is running low and could run out of supply altogether.
The amount of donated milk at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital is dwindling and there are concerns the supply will dry up without more donations.
Neonatal unit director Dr Pieter Koorts said they were moving the milk as quickly as they were getting it.
“We’ve currently got 40 litres waiting to pasteurise and we’ve probably got the same waiting to go out,” he said.
He is calling for more donations as the holiday season approaches.
“There seems to be a drop off over Christmas and New Year’s,” he said.
“We are going to struggle … it would be amazing if some people can contact us and donate.”
Like all first-time mothers, Tracey Toye wanted the best possible start for her newborn babies but not everything went according to plan.
Her identical twins, Emerson and Caylan were born premature at 30 weeks and six days and were taken straight into intensive care.
Ms Toye said she had planned to breastfeed her babies but they arrived before her milk came in.
“They’re almost 35 weeks and I still haven’t got enough milk,” she said.
“They do get the milk that I can express … but it’s been for me, imperative for them to have the donor milk.
“It’s been amazing.”
Milk pasteurised before being given to infants
The milk bank currently processes and distributes more than 1,000 litres of donor milk a year and is run similar to a blood bank.
Women bring their expressed milk to the hospital where it is screened and pasteurised before being given to infants.
Studies have found it helps to reduce the length of stay in hospital, improves survival rates and decreases the risk of health implications later in life.
Anyone wanting to donate is urged to contact the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.