Northern Ireland news

Human milk bank appeals for more donor mums

Human milk contains substances which cannot be synthesised and helps babies fight viruses and bacteria

A SERVICE that helps premature and seriously-ill babies has appealed for more breast milk donors.

The human milk bank at the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen is the only one in Ireland.

Elizabeth Bailie, human milk bank coordinator, appealed for more women to come forward and help provide essential donor breast milk for babies in neonatal units as they head into the busy summer period.

"As we know from previous years this can be a time when neonatal units require additional stocks of donor milk," Ms Bailie said.

"Staff are working very hard to ensure this vital service remains available to all our vulnerable premature babies. We are indebted to our donor mums who have continued to provide essential donor breast milk for babies in neonatal units in hospitals throughout Ireland."

Human milk contains substances which cannot be synthesised and helps babies fight viruses and bacteria. It also has unique fats which help the immature brain, eye and nervous systems develop better for improved intellect and sight.

The Western Health Trust human milk bank opened in 2000.

In addition to supporting premature and ill babies, it also helps mothers of twins, triplets and quads who are unable to produce enough milk of their own.

"In 2021 the human milk bank provided donor milk for 844 premature babies, of which 234 were either a twin or a triplet. So you can see it is essential that we continue to recruit donors at this time," Ms Bailie added.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news