Submitted. Each year, approximately 17,000 babies are born in Fraser Health. To help our tiniest patients get the best possible start in life, Fraser Health encourages all moms to breastfeed to provide their babies with the optimal nutrition they need to grow and thrive. Occasionally, for a variety of reasons, a mother is unable to fully breastfeed or produce milk. When this happens, the next best choice for feeding her baby is pasteurized donor human milk, which comes from mothers who are breastfeeding their own babies and who have milk to spare.
To make it easier for breastfeeding moms to donate their milk, Fraser Health has opened donor human milk collection depots in the Hope, Agassiz, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Maple Ridge, Mission, Langley, Cloverdale, Guildford, North Surrey, New Westminster, Newport and Burnaby Health Units. Women who have been screened can drop off their frozen donated milk at any one of these depots. Milk donated to Fraser Health is stored and transported to the provincial milk bank at BC Women’s Hospital where it is pooled, processed and pasteurized. Most of the pasteurized milk is used to feed premature and sick babies who are at high risk for illness and infection.
“The more milk received at Fraser Health donor human milk collection depots, the greater the opportunity for moms and babies across Fraser Health to benefit”, said Sidney Harper, Project Development Nurse, Baby Friendly Initiative, Fraser Health. “With Mother’s Day just around the corner, we are asking all breastfeeding moms to consider giving the gift of health to our most fragile patients by donating their breastmilk.”
Fraser Health is also planning to open donor human milk dispensaries at Royal Columbian Hospital and Surrey Memorial Hospital, which had previously functioned as collection depots. These new dispensaries will store pasteurized donor human milk, which will be available to the tiniest babies being cared for in our NICUs.
“At BC Women’s Provincial Milk Bank, our goal is to meet all requests for pasteurized donor milk from the NICUs at Royal Columbian Hospital and Surrey Memorial Hospital”, said Frances Jones, Coordinator, BC Women’s Hospital Provincial Milk Bank, Provincial Health Services Authority. “We appreciate our wonderful donors who give the gift of milk to support mothers and meet the needs of their babies. With Mother’s Day almost here, it’s a time to celebrate those who donate milk, from one mother to another, providing a gift that lasts a lifetime for families.”
Breastfeeding is the best option for most babies. Breast milk provides optimal nutrition and offers immune factors that protect babies from infections and diseases. The World Health Organization recommends that no other food besides breast milk be given to babies until approximately six months of age. With the addition of nutritious, complementary table foods, babies should continue to be breastfed until two years old and beyond.