SWAH Milk Bank appeals to donors

The Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) human milk bank at South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen is urgently calling on new mothers to donate breast milk as stocks dwindle, especially after the busy Christmas and New Years period.

Elizabeth (Liz) Bailie, coordinator of the Western Trust Milk Bank, said: “We encourage new mothers to help increase the demand for breast milk and to ensure that we have an adequate supply for neonatal units. Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. With our dedicated donors, peer support mothers and the help of new donors, we will be able to meet the growing demand for breast milk.

“We are very proud that South West Acute Hospital has achieved the prestigious UNICEF UK Baby Friendly accreditation and our dedicated midwives and health visitors continue to strive to help new mothers breastfeed. Last year we received the Gold Standard Award from UNICEF UK, which recognizes our commitment to breastfeeding. We are very grateful to our Moms who help us spread the word “Milk Bank” and we find it the best way to keep it in the minds of new Moms. ”

“From January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021, the Human Milk Bank processed approximately 2,142 liters of donor expressed milk and we provided approximately 1,427 liters of breast milk to 27 neonatal units in hospitals across Ireland, helping 558 babies, including 92 pairs of twins, 11 sets of triplets and a set of quads! Many babies who received breast milk have had to have bowel or heart surgery. ”

The milk bank team expressed their gratitude to the voluntary Blood Bikers charity: “The distribution of milk would not be possible without the transport assistance from the Blood Bikers charities which help transport the milk to the units. newborns across Ireland and we are extremely grateful for their continued support to the Human Milk Bank.

Elizabeth explains the importance of breast milk for premature babies saying, “Human milk contains substances that help babies fight viruses and bacteria. These are fats that help develop the immature brain, eyes, and nervous system. Most important for the premature baby, it helps protect the immature intestine from necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a potentially fatal disease. Breast milk also helps protect babies from pneumonia and sepsis.

Elizabeth adds: “We are very grateful to all the mothers who donate milk on the unit and there is always the need to recruit new donors. Donors must be registered by the time baby turns three months old and once registered the milk bank will accept donated milk up to the sixth month. All donated milk received must be in sterile milk bottles when expressed and returned to the service within three months of expression. Donors must be non-smokers, have not had a blood transfusion, take drugs that pass into breast milk, and have not had any tattooing, body piercing, or acupuncture (unless you can provide a letter). from your acupuncturist regarding sterile single-use needles), or have visited malarious countries within the past year and are in good health.

If you would like to learn more about Milk Bank and become a donor, please contact Milk Bank by phone: (028) 6862 8333 or by email at TMB.SWAH@westerntrust.hscni.net

New mothers are also encouraged to seek the support of their midwife, family health visitor, chief infant feeding specialist to support them throughout their infant feeding journey. We hope we will resume creating breastfeeding support groups in the Western Trust area, if COVID-19 guidelines allow. ”

A video showing a short tour of the facility, how the whole process works at the Human Milk Bank and the distribution of donated breast milk to help babies across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland recently has been produced and is available on the Western Trust website. Western Trust website www.westerntrust.hscni.net and Youtube channel.

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