BC Women’s Hospital’s milk bank reserves are running low again.
The Provincial Milk Bank provides live-saving donations to B.C. infants, many of whom are premature.
Last year, the milk bank supplied approximately 130,000 ounces to feed nearly 4,500 children.
Now, there’s only a few weeks of supply left, according to Frances Jones, the milk bank’s coordinator.
Provincial milk bank running low on supplies
“Right now, demand is very high, so we have about three weeks’ worth in our freezers,” Jones told Global News.
Jones adds, breast milk is critical for premature babies due to their underdeveloped digestive systems.
“A particular disease called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). It’s a disease of the bowel. So, premature infants have immature guts, which poses higher risk, and if they’re not on human milk, it increases the risk significantly.”
The provincial milk bank supplies 19 hospitals across the province, including all 14 Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU).
“Providing human milk, ideally mother’s own, is best. But understandably, that’s not always possible. So, pasteurized donor milk is the next best thing to protect the human gut,” Jones explained.
Currently, the milk bank has 330 donors but Jones says those numbers need to double in order to keep up with the requests they’ve been receiving.
Anyone interested in donating can find more information on the BC Women’s Hospital website.