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Thank You Thursday: The Milky Way

It is a shared belief by many that breast milk is one of the best sources of nutrients and immunity that a newborn can have and while it is a woman’s right to choose not to breastfeed, it should also be a her right to provide her baby with breast milk in any circumstance.

So, what happens when a mother in unable to  breastfeed due to illness such as cancer or diabetes? Do the parents have a choice as to how their baby is fed?

Well, more and more parents in Australia now have a choice thanks to an initiative set up in 2005 by midwife, Marea Ryan.

The first of its kind in Australia, Mother’s Milk Bank aims to provide new mothers with the choice to breastfeed their baby if they want to, even if their own health hinders this. They do this by facilitating the donation of breast milk from healthy mothers to those in need.

All donated breast milk is screened to ensure safety. Mothers who donate milk must be in good health (a non smoker, take no illegal drugs and do not consume more than two alcoholic drinks a day).

The milk itself goes through a thorough testing  process. It is pasteurised which ensures that any bacteria are destroyed and the milk is then re-tested for any remaining bacteria before it’s frozen.

It costs the Mothers’ Milk Bank $60 per litre to process the donated milk. An expense that the small charity only just manages to cover as they are mostly run by volunteers.

Apparently, Australia is somewhat lagging behind the rest of the world in this area of healthcare; with the following stats proving much higher than the two we currently have in our country. There are 17 human milk banks in the United Kingdom, 11 in the US and Canada and a national network of 300 in Brazil!

Marea Ryan (right) and volunteers

Mothers’ Milk Bank has a vision to provide Australian families with the option of donor mothers’ milk when needed and to see babies exclusively receiving breastmilk from birth to six months of age.

To watch a short video clip of the about the organisation click here.

So, today, on Thank You Thursday we acknowledge Marea and her team of volunteers and all the mothers that donate their milk for such a wonderful effort through the work of Mother’s Milk Bank.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick


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