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Breast Milk Donors Sought for RQHR Neonatal ICU Depot

Breast milk donors are being sought for the new milk depot at the Regina General Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), which accepted its first donation on September 26.

“Breast milk is of particular importance to help babies in our NICU gain health and strength, but some mothers cannot provide their own for a variety of reasons, such as illness or necessary medication usage,” said NICU Manager Tom Sorensen. “New mothers with an abundant milk supply can register to donate their excess breast milk to the NICU’s depot and help our critically-ill babies obtain the benefits of breast milk so they can thrive and live healthier lives.”

Donations collected at the Regina General Hospital NICU are frozen and couriered to the non-profit Calgary Mothers’ Milk Bank for processing and pasteurization. The milk is then packaged into 120 ml plastic bottles and can be ordered by NICUs and patients with prescriptions for babies’ use.

The Regina NICU purchases approximately 15-16 bottles of breast milk per month from the Calgary Mothers’ Milk Bank. The bank charges a fee of $16/bottle to off-set costs associated with screening donors and maintaining a donor list, processing the milk, making each unit of milk traceable for safety purposes, and packaging.

There is no cost to Regina NICU patients’ families for the breast milk, and breast milk donors are not paid.

​Which mothers can and cannot donate milk?

Donor mothers need to meet the following requirements:

  • In good general health and able to breastfeed or pump your milk;
  • Currently nursing a baby less than one year old (bereaved or surrogate mothers are also eligible to donate);
  • Willing to have a blood test to rule out certain diseases;
  • Not using certain medications or herbal supplements (except progestin-only birth control pills or injections, synthroid, thyroxin, insulin, pre-natal vitamins, iron, calcium, asthma inhaler); and
  • Able to donate at least 4,500 mls (150 ounces) of milk over a six month period.

The following conditions prevent a mother from donating

  • Tests positive for HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), HTLV (Human T-lymphotropic Virus), hepatitis B or C, or syphilis;
  • Is at risk for HIV, or her partner is at risk;
  • Use of illegal drugs;
  • Use of any tobacco products;
  • Received a blood transfusion in the past four months or an organ or tissue transplant in the past 12 months;
  • Consumes more than two ounces of alcohol per day;
  • Visited United Kingdom for more than three months between 1980 and 1996, France or Saudi Arabia for more than three months or Europe for more than five years since 1980; or
  • Her doctor advises against donating milk.

For more information on how to become a breast milk donor, and donate through the Regina NICU breast milk depot, please click here.

For more information on the Calgary Mothers’ Milk Bank, please click here.

​Contact for Media Inquiries Only

Lisa Thomson
Media Relations Consultant
Communications - Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region
Tel: (306) 766-5332
Cell: (306) 539-4617
Email: lisa.thomson@rqhealth.ca

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