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Funding for breast milk bank - Essential help for premature and ill babies

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Scotland’s donor milk bank is set to receive up to £300,000 to provide vital supplies for premature and ill babies.

The Scottish Government funding will benefit more than 700 of the most vulnerable babies a year, allowing them to be fed breastmilk for a longer period of time to reduce their health risks associated with being sick and premature.

It will also help babies whose mothers have early feeding challenges, as they will now be able to get access to the donor breastmilk.

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell announced the three year funding package during Scottish Breastfeeding Awareness Week, as the Glasgow-based service, which provides donor human milk to babies all across Scotland, celebrated its 40th anniversary.

Heather Lawrence, who has been donating to the milk bank for six months said: “Being a milk donor makes me feel good, every morning when I am expressing I know that milk will help more than one baby - that’s a great feeling. I’m not doing it for me, I feel it’s really worthwhile and I tell my baby, Eleanor, where the milk is going and the good it’s doing. Breastfeeding was challenging initially but nine months later it’s so easy and Eleanor has thrived on it. It’s a great comfort as well and really helps settle her anytime, anywhere.”

Ms Campbell said:  “This funding will benefit so many sick and premature babies, allowing them to not only get better, but to thrive, and it’s wonderful to meet some of the staff who work hard to support new mothers and the women who have selflessly donated their milk and their time to help these children.”

Kevin Hill, NHSGGC’s Director of Women and Children’s Services said: “NHSGGC is delighted to be able to support, with Scottish Government funding, the expansion of the Scotland-wide Donor Milk Bank service.

“This will ensure that safe screened donor human milk will be available to support the most vulnerable infants across Scotland. The service has seen increasing demand for donor human milk since it became a Scotland-wide service in June 2013 and this further funding will support the ongoing and increasing demand. More babies will be able to access donor milk and for longer, ensuring they have the best possible start.

“We would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the contribution from Glasgow Children's Hospital Charity as they have supported the donor milk bank over a number of years and their volunteer drivers support the service by collecting and delivering donor milk across Scotland.”

Background

  • The Scottish Donor Milk Bank (DMB) collects, screens, stores, processes and distributes donor breast milk (breast milk that has been expressed by a mother and provided freely) to be fed to another mother’s child.
  • The DMB first opened in 1978 at the Queen Mother’s Hospital (QMH) in Glasgow. The bank provided milk to a small number of premature babies in QMH and to more mature babies who had undergone gastrointestinal surgery in the co-located Royal Hospital for Sick Children. The DMB had no dedicated staff at this time and handled milk from 8 to 12 donors annually. This milk was pasteurised by the Yorkhill Milk Kitchen and the process was overseen by a Consultant Neonatologist and the Neonatal Unit Liaison Midwife.
  • All requests for donor milk from all neonatal units across Scotland are met. Donor milk is transported safely from donors homes to the DMB and from there to neonatal units across Scotland by the Glasgow Children’s Charity Volunteer Drivers.
  • The table below highlights previous and current workload of the DMB –

Year

Litres

Pasteurised

Donors

Recipients

Litres

Distributed

2012

453

77

144

190

2013

635

100

194

435

2014

791

159

206

551

2015

914

153

324

700

2016

1174

156

459

912

2017

1199

204

525

1056

2018 to April

435

94

209

418

 

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