Canterbury breast milk bank overflows with offers

A donor gifts about 1 - 1.5 litres of milk a week (Newshub.)
A donor gifts about 1 - 1.5 litres of milk a week (Newshub.)

Canterbury's Human Milk Bank is "thrilled" with the response from mothers nationwide willing to donate their breast milk for newborns.

Canterbury DHB Human Milk Bank manager Anthea Franks says the support it's received since it put calls out to the community for donations is wonderful.

The milk bank hosted an open day in June. Ms Franks fielded more than 40 emails from around the country from mothers wanting to donate to a milk bank.

"We've had enquiries from across the country and we thank everyone for their interest and support, she says, "But [I] just wanted to remind the community that at this stage we're only able to take local donations."

"It's been so lovely though to have such a genuine response and we're extremely grateful to all the wonderful mothers out there who want to offer their surplus milk and we thank all of them for their support."

Mothers go through screening before they are accepted as donors. Infants under 35 weeks old are the receivers of the milk at the moment due to limited supplies.

A donor gifts about 1 - 1.5 litres of milk a week. The bank currently has five donors as a result of the open day and is looking for another 20 locals.

(Canterbury District Health Board)

"Thank you for this service, it has given my babies the best start to life," a mother who received 1.34 litres of milk for her twins says.

A current donor says she is more than happy to donate her milk to babies in need.

"Being in the Neonatal Unit with my daughter, I saw so many babies that would benefit."

Another mother says her body was not ready enough to produce milk when her twin boys "raced into the world at 27 weeks". She received nearly nine litres for her twin boys. 

"With their little tummies so delicate, it was a huge weight off me to know they were able to receive donor milk until my milk volume increased," the mother says, "Thanks to all the amazing mothers who are able to help ensure that the little premmies are getting the best while so vulnerable." 

The bank hopes to have another community open day later in the year.

To find out more, you can visit their website here.