The need for donated breast milk has risen 15 percent over the past year and will rise by a further 10 per cent in 2023 after an increase in the number of hospitals ordering milk and an uptick in demand.
This has prompted a call by Lifeblood for mothers in Sydney, Adelaide, and Brisbane to find out how milk donation works, and to donate their excess breast milk to Lifeblood.
More than 680 mothers from Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney have donated 5500 litres of milk in the past year to an estimated 2000 premature babies in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and Canberra.
New hospitals in Canberra, Perth and Adelaide have taken the number of hospitals using the service nationally to 33, with milk distributed from milk banks in Sydney and Brisbane.
“Donated breast milk is liquid gold for premature or very sick and small babies, as the best source of nutrition and to prevent health complications when a mother’s own milk is not available,” said Lifeblood Milk Manager Chris Sulfaro.
“Babies born before 32 weeks of pregnancy are especially susceptible to infections, which may lead to babies developing a condition called necrotizing enterocolitis, a type of gut inflammation that can be fatal, and their survival rates improve when they get donated breast milk.
“For babies born early or with a very low birth weight, a doctor can prescribe donated breast milk, which is provided on-demand by Lifeblood in the same way blood is.”
Many mothers find it hard to make enough milk in the early weeks if their baby is in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which is where Lifeblood’s milk donors come in.
Mothers who live in Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide who make more breast milk than their babies need can donate it to Lifeblood milk, after first undergoing a screening questionnaire and a blood test. The precious cargo is picked up from the donor’s home by Lifeblood Milk Donor Coordinators.
Today is World Day of Human Milk Donation and Lifeblood has released a video that shows the journey of milk, from mother-to-mother, to help encourage women to find out more about milk donation. (Watch video here).
SheSociety is a site for the women of Australia to share our stories, our experiences, shared learnings and opportunities to connect.