THURSDAY 21 OCTOBER 2021
Breast milk is essential for all babies but especially vital for premature and sick newborns, acting as a medicine that only a mother's milk can provide. The longer a premature or sick baby has access to breastmilk, the more profound and long-lasting the health benefits.
Unfortunately, for some mothers of premature or sick babies, providing their own breast milk is not possible for numerous reasons.
The World Health Organisation recommends that donated breast milk is a better alternative to infant formula when a mother's own milk is not available.
Therefore, donor breast milk is an integral part of the care and treatment plan for many babies during their time in NICU.
With approximately 5,000 babies born premature in Queensland every year, donated breast milk is in very high demand, with an expected increase of 1,000 litres each year for the next two years.
The Australian Red Cross Lifeblood Milk and Queensland Milk Bank have united to establish a new milk bank to meet these demands.
Located in Brisbane’s Kelvin Grove, the new facility will ensure that premature and sick babies across Queensland have access to lifesaving donated breast milk.
"To be able to join forces and improve health outcomes for Queensland's most vulnerable newborn babies is remarkable, and we're grateful to Queensland Milk Bank for collaborating with us in the delivery of this innovative project."
Lifeblood Chief Executive, Shelly Park
Funded by the Australian Government Department of Health, the milk bank will collect, pasteurise, and distribute more than 1,500 litres of donated breast milk each year to Queensland’s network of neonatal intensive care units and special care nurseries.
Although a comprehensive screening is required to determine eligibility, including an interview and blood test, the donation process is quite simple. Donors will be able to express, freeze, and store their milk in their homes, which Lifeblood milk coordinators then collect.
In addition to providing donated breast milk “on-demand”, the new Brisbane facility is also expected to undertake innovative scientific research to develop new products to help premature babies thrive.
For more information about this initiative or to check your eligibility to become a breast milk donor, visit: www.lifeblood.com.au/milk