Based at Alexandria in Sydney, the Milk Bank will pasteurise donor human milk in a purpose-built centre run jointly by the Australian Red Cross Blood Service and NSW Health. It will operate under world’s best practice standards. Just like a blood bank, donors will be screened and milk will be collected, processed, tested and distributed.
Pasteurised donor human milk is recommended by the World Health Organisation as a first alternative to infant formula when there is insufficient mother’s milk available. For very low birth weight infants and those born before 32 weeks gestational age, human milk reduces the risk of the gut-disorder necrotizing enterocolitis and bacterial infections.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said around 1000 babies are born every year in NSW at less than 32 weeks gestational age, or of a very low birth weight and many need specialised care.
“Breast milk is liquid gold for these little ones at this critical time, as it contains all the vital nutrients essential for growth and protection against disease,” Mr Hazzard said.
“Many mums of premmie babies can experience problems with their milk supply but now mums can access donor milk, while efforts to boost their own supply continue.”