Disclosure: This post is in partnership with The Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank. As always, opinions are all my own.
As parents we all want what’s best for our children. When we’re pregnant we don’t really think about much except when is this baby going to come out! The closer the time comes to the actual day a lot of things cross our minds. But, what happens when the unexpected happens and your baby is born early or has something come up at birth that requires a NICU stay for your fragile little one?
What happens if by some chance you just can’t produce enough milk or none at all during this time? It happens! The Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank is here to help make this time easier on parents.
Established in 2013, the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank collects donated breastmilk from lactating women, pasteurizes it, and distributes it by prescription to medically fragile babies in Neonatal Intensive Care Units across Ontario. The mothers of these vulnerable babies are often unable to provide a sufficient amount of milk due to medical reasons.
Did you know: Donating breastmilk can help save a preterm baby’s life by dramatically reducing the rate of a serious medical complication. There are approximately 1500 low birth weight babies in Ontario a year and 70% of preterm babies in hospitals across Ontario don’t have access to a full supply of their mother’s own milk, leaving them with reduced vital nutrients and protective properties.
When my two youngest babies were taken to the NICU due to gestational diabetes issues when they were born at 38 weeks, I got so upset over the thought our breastfeeding relationship may be tarnished if they had to stay in the NICU for very long. This is something that crosses a lot of new moms minds especially if their baby is born a little early, and is in a fragile state and they really shouldn’t have to worry about this during an already difficult time.
While it is true, mother’s own milk is the gold standard, many mothers of extremely vulnerable hospitalized babies are unable to provide the necessary volume of milk for their babies. When mother’s own milk is not available or is limited, pasteurized donor milk is recommended as an alternative to formula by The Canadian Paediatric Society for sick hospitalized infants.
The Royal Victoria Hospital, my local hospital here in Barrie, will soon come on board offering parents with baby’s in the NICU access to donor milk if medically necessary, which is a big win for Barrie. I spent a little time in the NICU there and I know it will be much appreciate and needed.
Here are some facts about Donor Milk that may interest you:
- Donor milk goes through a rigorous process of screening, testing and pasteurization, which ensures that donor milk is safe for medical use.
- Donor milk is more easily digested by babies, which may mean fewer days of intravenous nutrition.
- Donor milk has unparalleled immunological and anti-inflammatory properties that can potentially protect against a host of illnesses including serious infections and other complications related to preterm birth.
- Donor milk contains specific elements that protect the intestines against harmful bacteria and viruses.
By donating your extra milk to the milk bank you can change a sick babys life. Not only is donor milk so beneficial and important for fragile babies it’s also important and beneficial to donor mothers. Breastfeeding offers benefits to a mother including, a reduction in the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, and a decreased risk of osteoporosis. The benefit of donating surplus breastmilk is the knowledge that you are making a difference in the life of a sick baby and giving comfort to their families.
The milk bank is always in need of new donors. For more information on how you can donate and help make a difference for another family please visit, here.