Wirral Milk Bank calls for donors to help top up hospital stocks

Wirral Globe: Sarah Fearnley Sarah Fearnley

BREAST feeding mums across Merseyside are being encouraged to give the gift of milk donation this winter to help top up hospital stock levels.

The Wirral Mothers’ Milk Bank, part of Wirral University Teaching Hospital, is one of only 17 human milk banks in the UK.

The facility relies on healthy breast feeding mothers to volunteer and come forward to donate surplus breast milk.

This is then screened and pasteurised for premature and sick babies in neonatal units across the North West region as well as further afield.

Annie Atkinson, who looks after the Wirral Mothers’ Milk Bank, said: “Winter is a particularly busy time for our regional neonatal units as the need for donor milk increases for premature and poorly babies.

“We are always grateful to mothers who can donate any surplus breast milk on a regular basis as this helps to keep our stocks high at this busy time of year.”

The Wirral Mothers’ Milk Bank is a nationally recognised regional provider of human milk to many hospitals and is one of the most productive milk banks in the UK, pasteurising 500 litres of donated milk each year.

Hundreds of sick and premature babies are helped by this specialist service when their own mothers are unable to provide their own milk due to illness or medications.

It is well documented that breast milk is the optimum nutrition for all babies for at least six months after birth, but especially for babies born too soon as human milk provides all the immune protection and growth hormones needed by this vulnerable group of babies.

Gill Brady, Milk Bank co-ordinator, said: “Parents are always thankful to know their young poorly baby will receive the gift of donor milk when mothers own milk isn’t always available due to maternal illness following birth. It can be a life saver for many tiny babies.

“If your baby is less than six months old and you are breast feeding, please get in touch with the Wirral Mothers’ Milk Bank by calling 0151 482 7599 and we’ll explain how you can volunteer.”

Sarah Fearnley recently became the Wirral Mothers Milk Bank’s 800th donor. The mum of two from Liverpool began donating milk after the birth of her first baby three years ago.

She said: “I felt a massive sense of achievement being able to feed my son Jacob but to also help a sick and poorly baby at the same time.

“The whole process fitted in easily with my family life as I was expressing for my son anyway.

“I now have a beautiful little girl called Jessica, and I’m proud again to be able to help donate even more milk for the second time.

“Every drop counts and it’s such a special thing to know you’re helping a new life.”

Wirral Mothers’ Milk Bank celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2014. If you would like further details about the service and how you can volunteer, visit www.wuth.nhs.uk and search for ‘Milk Bank’.

You can also contact them by calling 0151 482 7599.


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