Breast milk bank a first in Victorian hospital

Nikki - posted on 03/02/2011 ( 7 moms have responded )

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Mercy Hospital for Women in Melbourne are launching a Breastmilk Bank, which should be fully operational in September or October.
The Bank will be a first of its kind in Australia and will provide donated breastmilk to premature or sick babies whose mothers, for a variety of reasons, cannot provide sufficient breastmilk for their baby. It will collect and pasteurise the donated breastmilk. Once the breastmilk is pasteurised, it will be frozen and stored until required. Freezing the breastmilk also means that it can be delivered to babies in other hospitals.
Mercy Hospital for Women is one of Australia’s pre-eminent hospitals for women and babies. Although this is relatively new to Australia, babies from overseas have been benefiting from breastmilk banks for years. The launch of Mercy Breastmilk Bank is therefore a significant development for Australian mums and their babies.
Once established, Mercy Breastmilk Bank hopes to have the capacity to broaden out the service to sick babies being cared for in other intensive care nurseries. In order to deliver this essential and worth while service, Mercy Breastmilk Bank is calling on Australians to make much needed donations to this worthy cause. Making a donation you can give sick and premature babies the benefits of potentially life-saving breastmilk.
Media personality and mother of three, Kim Watkins, is an avid supporter of Mercy Breastmilk Bank and says; “when a baby is sick in intensive care, the trauma can leave mums stressed and unable to produce breastmilk. That's where the Mercy Breastmilk Bank will help. It is, literally, a life-saver.”
The advantages of offering premature and sick babies breastmilk includes:
• Babies in the Special Care Nursery or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit who are fed breastmilk progress to normal health 25% faster than if they were fed formula.
• The protein in breastmilk is more easily digested than that of formula.
• Babies fed breastmilk are better equipped to fight infections because breastmilk enhances immunological development.
• Premature babies fed breastmilk are six times less likely to suffer a life threatening gastro-intestinal condition called necrotising enterocolitis.
Dr Gillian Opie, Neonatal Paediatric specialist at Mercy Hospital for Women says; “Mercy Breastmilk Bank will provide sick and premature babies with the best possible alternative nutrition when their mother's own milk is insufficient or not available.”
For more information visit www.mercybreastmilkbank.com.au or call 1300 063 729.


I know we have had quite a few debates on breast milk sharing recently, but I found this article and I think it is such a wonderful thing. I am wondering why such a programs has not been set up years ago and practised in all hospitals. Considering the benefits of breast milk have been well known for some time I am surprised that it hasn't been done in Australia before. Do any of the hospitals where you live do this?

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Lady Heather - posted on 03/02/2011

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There is one in Vancouver (about 10 hours away) but we can't access it up here because they don't even have enough milk for local needs. If there was one I could have used, I would have used it.

Stifler's - posted on 03/02/2011

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It's about time too! I thought there would have been milk banks already in major cities but since I live in the outback that's just asking too much. Weird. I spend too much time talking to people from overseas!!

Nikki - posted on 03/02/2011

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I know, but it's like they have no clue when it comes to other important issues like breast feeding, rear facing car seats, and banning chemicals like BPA

Katherine - posted on 03/02/2011

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That's actually surprising to me considering they are so great on health coverage, baby bonuses, and other things related to health and well being.

Nikki - posted on 03/02/2011

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That's great Katherine, once again Australia is behind the ball when it comes to infant health care and safety!

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