Monday, October 01, 2012

Over 6,000 ounces of donor milk distributed to Alberta babies so far this year

Calgary Mothers' Milk Bank director Jannette Festival
with Alberta Breastfeeding Committee conference
delegate Stephanie Harries
At the Alberta Breastfeeding Committee's (ABC) annual conference, held this year in both of Alberta's major cities, Calgary Mothers' Milk Bank director Jannette Festival provided an update on the status of donor human milk in the province.

When the Calgary Mothers' Milk Bank opened its doors this spring Festival forecast between 80 and 100 donors would provide milk in its first year of operation. The milk bank is on track to exceed that forecast with over half of 160 applicants already approved and dozens more on track for approval. The milk bank moved quickly after setting up operations - they pasteurized their first batch of milk on April 3, 2012 and made their first delivery to the Foothills Hospital on April 13, 2012. The average donation is 400 ounces and the bank had already logged 10,000 ounces by June, 2012. They are on track to process 22,000 ounces this year.

This interactive map shows the locations of the
milk bank, hospitals providing pasteurized
human donor milk, and collection depots in Alberta.
ABC Conference attendees in Edmonton were excited by the news that the Grey Nuns began officially using donor human milk on September 5th 2012, with the Royal Alex coming on board at the end of September, ending a brief period of bureaucratic delay that saw milk available in Edmonton only if families paid the milk bank processing fees directly.

Calgary hospitals have already used 3,600 ounces and Edmonton is close behind with 3,100 ounces. Another 2,000 ounces has been provided to Toronto, which is set to open its own donor milk bank later this fall. There is a small percentage of milk that shows a high bacterial count after processing and  it is not suitable to be used as donor milk in the NICU - that milk is used by researchers.

Donors come from across Alberta, and even as far away as Ontario. The milk bank is always looking for donors and is currently a little short of milk - there is a lag between when they first apply and when they make their first deposit.

A collection depot is set to open in Edmonton early October at the Grey Nuns. This will cut the time and expense of moving each individual Edmonton donor mom's milk down to Calgary. The Breastfeeding Action Committee of Edmonton raised funds for the depot earlier this summer.

Also overheard at the conference - exciting talk of moving to fill the need for collection depots in Grande Prairie, Red Deer, and Lethbridge.