Mothers Milk Bank Charity is focussed on improving the equity of access to any parent or carer needing safe donor breast milk for a baby or young child in their care regardless of their situation. No one who requests milk is excluded.

Mothers Milk Bank Charity is thrilled to be collaborating with Calmbirth to spread the word about our service and give parents the opportunity to learn about how they, as mothers, can donate their breastmilk milk as well as obtain donor breast milk as an ‘insurance policy’ just in case they need it.  

 

Background History

The Mothers Milk Bank Charity was established in 2009 by founder Marea Ryan, a midwife & lactation consultant who saw the need for donor breast milk instead of formula to be readily available for babies & especially those in the intensive care units she worked in around the Gold Coast Maternity hospitals.  

Marea cared for mothers needing support with their breast milk supply in the early days after birth and babies experiencing adverse reactions to formula when breast milk wasn’t available.  

Her vision was to give parents the choice of donated, screened, and pasteurized breast milk.

Mother’s Milk Bank distributes milk to any family requiring it not just sick, low birthweight or preterm infants.  They rely on the generous donations of milk to meet their vision that donor mothers’ milk is an option and to see babies exclusively receiving breastmilk from birth to six months of age.

Along the way, Maria gained support from parents she had helped, had fund raisers, and gained support from the local Lions and other volunteers.  Her contribution and single mindedness put the Milk bank on the map around the Gold Coast area, the southern Queensland region and to an extent to different centres around Australia. 

Marea set up the Charity at the Gold Coast and organised the screening, testing of donors and pasteurising breast milk so recipients could be confident they were receiving safe frozen breast milk for their baby or young infant.  

In the early days she often had to prioritise breast milk for premature babies but when supply was adequate, she always tried to help as many parents as possible often driving the milk to a parent late at night. 

After Marea (our foundation member) retired from actively running the Charity, I have been working with a team committed to promoting and protecting breastfeeding and expanding and promoting the Charity so that more parents around Australia have the opportunity to access donor breast milk whenever needed from the Charity.  

With some financial support and permanent staff, the Charity has been able to accept more donations of breast milk from mothers all over Australia. This has increased our stock and eliminated the need to prioritise or indeed turn anyone away wanting milk from us.  

The Charity is also building and maintaining an emergency reserve of donor breast milk in the event of natural or man-made disasters. 

Families in need of milk can access it Australia wide by calling 1300 259 763. Milk can either be collected from their nearest collection point or posted. There are currently collection points in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and the Central Coast and this substantially decreases the cost to families.  This means parents don’t have to wait for donor milk to be sent to them from the Gold Coast. We have wonderful volunteers with deep freezers holding milk from the Charity ready to be delivered or picked up from their ‘depots’ for recipients more frequently now and, often as a same day service.   

Alternatively, donors can either drop off their breast milk donations to any of these ‘depots’ or have their donations picked up quite quickly for free from their home.  

“Mothers Milk Bank Charity is focussed on improving the equity of access to any parent or carer needing safe donor breast milk for a baby or young child in their care regardless of their situation. No one who requests milk is excluded.” 

The Charity can provide milk to parents with pre- term and term babies in hospitals, surrogate parents unable to breastfeed or provide breast milk, foster parents and carers of babies or young children needing breast milk. We have had babies who initially were only fed formula and have reacted to such an extent that a mother will ask for breast milk to ‘rescue’ her baby from the effects of formula. 

Mothers Milk Bank Charity is thrilled to be collaborating with Calmbirth to spread the word about the Charity and give parents the opportunity to learn about the Charity and obtain donor breast milk as an ‘insurance policy’ just in case they need it.  

The milk would never be wasted and with a 3 month shelf life it will always be used. it can be enormously reassuring to have a Plan ‘B’ in the freezer in the early days and weeks at home after the birth when a day or a night just does not go well. 

We also need donations of breast milk for the Charity so there is a supply readily available as well as an emergency supply ready for man- made or natural disasters. 

Mothers Milk Bank is also calling for more midwives, birth workers and hospitals to become involved to increase access to donor breast milk.

What can this support look like?

To help increase awareness that if milk supplementation is necessary that donor breast milk is available and how this can be accessed through the Mother’s Milk Bank.

  • To raise awareness that the Mother’s Milk Bank exists, and how milk can be donated to help other families in need.
  • To become a collection point for receiving donations and distributing milk in your local community.
  • Advocate within your hospitals to have human milk on site in maternity and neonatal units as an option for families needing supplemental milk.

The Mother’s Milk Bank website is https://www.mothersmilkbank.com.au/

I look forward to hearing from anyone wanting more information or indeed wanting to help as a ‘depot’ for the collection of donor breast milk or the distribution of milk for a baby in need. 

Lynne Hall 
Director Mothers’ Milk Bank Charity 
Endorsed midwife, IBCLC 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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