The Special Care Baby Fund raising money for the Special Care Baby Unit at Princess Royal University Hospital, Farnborough Kent
The PRUH Human Milk Bank

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could you be a donor 2008 could you be a donor 2008

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The Infant Feeding Support Centre (IFSC) was set-up by the Paediatric Department in 1996. The centre was to be the first of its kind in the UK and was a response to the government’s health proposals that women should be given information and support with breastfeeding, due to the known and researched benefits to the mother and baby.

At the same time research was being published regarding the value of human milk in the reduction of the potentially fatal
disease of Necrotizing Enterocolitus and sepsis in the premature and sick infant. The Trusts human milk bank had been closed in 1987 due to the potential risk of transmissible diseases via human milk, but, a new guideline released by the Department of Health enabled milk banking to be safely practised again.

The costs for establishing the milk bank were donated by the SCBU Fund, local charities and businesses, whilst the hospital funded the staffing and processing of the donated milk.

The IFSC run the milk bank and recruit local donors through their contact with local mothers. They are also supported by local midwives, health visitors and the National Childbirth Trust in recruiting donors.

The PRUH is one of only 17 UK hospitals to operate a milk bank service, pasteurising donor breastmilk to give to sick and premature babies. More than 40% of SCBU babies receive donor breastmilk at some point during their time in hospital. This year the Special Care Baby Fund was delighted to support the milk bank by purchasing a new freezer for the storage of donated breastmilk.

We asked Tracy Walter, one of our 20 volunteer donors this year, why she chose to donate to the milk bank:

milkbank.gif“I am a mother of five, the youngest being 6 months old. I felt that the only option for me was to breastfeed all my children and feel lucky enough that I was, and am still able to, unlike many others who unfortunately can’t.

I donate my milk as it helps many babies and families through difficult times and I believe it enables them to have a healthy start in life, which all babies deserve.

If my husband has his way, I will be donating again!”

Tracy’s comments reflect the feelings of many of our past and present donors and we are grateful to them for giving their time and effort to produce such a precious commodity, which helps so many SCBU babies and their parents through difficult times.

It is hoped in the future that the milk bank at the PRUH can follow the example of the other milk banks across the country and extend the use of pasteurised donor breastmilk to other SCBU’s in the local network. The new proposals of the four hospitals working together will hopefully make this a very real possibility. If you would like to learn more about human milk banking then visit the United Kingdom Association for Milk Banking website on: www.ukamb.org