Australian Red Cross announced Donor Milk Bank

Australian Red Cross announced Donor Milk Bank for premmie babies.

Following two years of extensive research and planning, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service has announced the establishment of a Milk Bank especially for premature babies in South Australia.

The Milk Bank will supply pasteurised donor breast milk to The Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH) and Flinders Medical Centre (FMC) in Adelaide.

Nutrition is a vital component of good health for babies in neonatal intensive care units. And while most new mothers long to be able to provide breast milk to their premature babies, it isn’t always possible, due to illness, milk supply or other reasons.

Up until now, the only option has been to provide premmie babies with infant formula, despite the World Health Organisation’s recommendation that pasteurised donor human milk is a better alternative.

WHO suggests that such an alternative may reduce the risks associated with some of the challenges faced by premature babies. This is because breast milk is easier to digest, protecting the gastrointestinal tract and improving feed tolerance.

Breast milk can also be fed to premmie babies via a feeding tube, resulting in reduced infections due to drips being removed earlier.

Donors to the Milk Bank will be anonymous volunteers, but will go through a screening process prior to donation, which is then tested and processed before distribution.

While breast milk will currently be supplied to hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Units in South Australia to begin with, the goal is to expand the service across Australia.

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