Mother’s Milk for Babies

Thanks to donors like you, BC Women’s Milk Bank has expanded across the province to ensure BC’s sickest babies have access to the best nutrition

When it comes to what’s best for babies, nothing beats mother’s milk. Human milk is vital to supporting the health of every newborn, but especially for premature and critically ill babies. That’s why BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre created its donor Milk Bank program.

BC Women’s Milk Bank, one of only two hospital-based milk programs in Canada, collects and then distributes pasteurized donor human milk to BC’s sickest babies. Thanks to generous donors to BC Women’s Hospital Foundation like you, even more moms of healthy babies can donate breast milk for the ailing babies of moms who can’t breastfeed or produce enough milk.

“In addition to containing all the nutrients an infant needs for healthy growth and development, breast milk is more easily digestible than cow’s milk or formula,” says Frances Jones, a lactation specialist and coordinator of BC Women’s Milk Bank. “It also includes powerful antibodies that help protect babies from developing illnesses like pneumonia and diarrhea, and other significant chronic and developmental conditions.”

“Research also shows that infants in the Newborn ICU who receive breast milk, are 63-per-cent less likely to develop necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and show a 92-per-cent reduction in surgical NEC,” adds Marg Seppelt, patient care services director at BC Women’s.

Seppelt says the program first screens all donor moms, who then drop off excess breast milk at one of the program’s milk collection depots. The recent expansion of the program added 17 new locations across the Fraser Valley, from Burnaby to Hope. BC Women’s Hospital has even established a drive-in breast milk drop-off at the entrance to the hospital. All donated breast milk comes to BC Women’s to be pasteurized, and is then distributed to hospitals throughout BC, including to the Newborn ICUs at Surrey Memorial and Royal Columbian hospitals.

Every baby deserves the best start at a healthy life. Thanks to the donors who made it possible to expand the Milk Bank program, babies throughout BC will have even greater access to the mother’s milk they need to thrive and grow.

Please make a donation to help babies in need of the very best nourishment, who are helped every day by the BC Women's Provincial Milk Bank. 

Written by Michelle Hopkins for Women's Magazine