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Have You Considered Donating To The Milk Bank?

BREASTFEEDING: Becoming a parent opens up a whole new world of information.
Tips, tricks, products and agencies you may never have heard of before suddenly become vitally important!

One such organisation is the Milk Bank, which is a invaluable resource for premature and sick babies.

The Milk Bank is located in Fermanagh in Northern Ireland, and is the only human milk bank in the country. Serving north and south, the service operates in a similar way to a blood bank. Breastfeeding mothers who have excess milk and wish to donate, express their milk and send it in insulated containers to the milk bank. Upon arrival in Fermanagh, the milk is checked for bacteria and pasteurised. It is then stored at the bank until it is sent to neonatal units around the country as required.

While breast milk is the perfect food for all babies it has particular benefits for premature and sick infants as it helps to boost their immune systems to help them fight viruses and bacteria and protects them from further illnesses.

One of the donors is Rachel Lane, director of the Babytalk Festival (February 22-23rd at O'Reilly Hall, UCD). Rachel decided to look into donating milk when her little girl was just a couple of months old. She discovered she had lots of milk and found it easy to pump, so after a quick Google search she came across the number for the bank. Ann McCrea, the coordinator of the bank, explained the next steps to Rachel and after passing the health checks, she was soon sending off her first collection of little bottles to the bank.

Rachel is just one of many donors from all over the country who pump and freeze their milk which is then collected for the milk bank.

The milk is given to premature and sick babies, as well as sets of twins, triplets and quads. Mothers who donate to the bank receive regular newsletters telling them of all the babies and families they are helping through donating their milk.

 

The Milk Bank at the Babytalk information station

 

After her own fantastic experience with the Milk Bank, Rachel wanted to spread the word about this wonderful service.

The Milk Bank is just one example of the fantastic support and information available in Ireland. Unfortunately it can sometimes be difficult to know how to access this information and support. Babytalk is trying to combat this with the Ultimate Maternity Guide Information Station where they will be providing space for parent and family support agencies, including lots of information from the Milk Bank.

Other agencies providing information and support at the festival include: Irish Premature Babies, Cuidiu, Treoir, Nurture, Parentline, The Homebirth Association of Ireland, La Leche League, Help My Kid Learn and The Cloth Nappy Library. Enter our competition now and you could win 1 of 30 pairs of weekend tickets to Babytalk Festival! For more information on Babytalk Festival, visit www.babytalkfestival.ie To contact the Milk Bank, visit www.westerntrust.hscni.net/2026.htm or call +44 28 6862 8333 
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