Breast Milk Bank Expansion
The BC government is providing a grant of $650,000 to the BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre Foundation to support their campaign to expand the milk bank program at BC Women’s Hospital & Health Centre in response to community demand for donor breast milk for preterm and critically-ill babies. The milk bank provides pasteurized donor milk to about 2,500 babies a year. Almost all of the recipients are premature and critically-ill children whose mothers are unable to breastfeed or provide enough breast milk to feed their children. Pasteurized donor breast milk helps prevent serious illness and decreases health-care costs, including reducing a baby’s length of hospital stay. Donor milk is provided with a prescription from a doctor or midwife. The BC Women’s Hospital + Health Care Foundation’s goal is to increase capacity to double the number of babies who receive milk from the bank. The foundation has a campaign to raise the money needed to move the milk bank to a larger, purpose-renovated space. “BC Women’s Hospital is committed to excellence in care for the province’s sickest babies, and providing access to breast milk helps give newborns the very best start in life. The hospital is grateful for this tremendous boost to the milk bank,” said Jan Christilaw, president of BC Women’s Hospital & Health Centre. A processing fee of $5 per 120 cc’s of donor human milk is currently charged to recipients outside of BC Women’s Hospital.