April 19, 2017 - 2:55 PM
For the first time, it will be easier for Okanagan mothers to donate their extra breastmilk to the BC Women’s Provincial Milk Bank. OK Breastfeeding, a local non-profit community organization is holding the first ever milk drive in the valley June 21st from 10 am – 12 pm at 4 locations: Penticton, West Kelowna, Kelowna and Vernon.
When mothers are unable to produce enough of their own milk, pasteurized donor human milk is the next recommended option. This is especially true for sick and very premature babies. The BC Women’s Provincial Milk Bank has been processing milk for babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Vancouver since 1974. Human milk has properties that can’t be replicated in formula, helping prevent serious illness and even newborn death from a complication called necrotizing enterocolitis, a disease of the intestines. For more information about the milk bank go to http://www.bcwomens.ca/our-services/labour-birth-post-birth-care/milk-bank.
It was difficult in the past for women outside the Lower Mainland to donate their milk as they needed to arrange to deliver it themselves to BC Women’s. This led to frequent severe shortages of donor milk. To address this problem, milk drop off depots have been set up at a number of health centres and hospitals throughout the province. As there are no depots yet in this region, OK Breastfeeding hopes that the milk drive will help fill the gap and make it easy for Okanagan mothers to donate.
Frances Jones, Director of the BC Women’s Milk Bank explains that “the more milk we receive at BC Women’s, the more babies we can help. Very sick and premature babies from the Okanagan are cared for in the BC Women’s NICU, and babies who are a little bigger and healthier are cared for closer to home at the Kelowna General Hospital NICU. All these babies can benefit from the generosity of Okanagan mothers”.
Interested mothers are asked to contact BC Women’s Provincial Milk Bank at (604) 875-3743 or Lindley Granger at (250) 460-2515.
For more information go to www.bcwomens.ca (and search ‘milk bank’) or www.okanaganbreastfeeding.org.
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