Milk Bank

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So what is a Milk Bank?

Human milkbanking is a service which collects, screens, processes and dispenses human milk donated by nursing mothers. Because the milk is dispensed to recipients, who are not related to the donor, every precaution is taken to provide a safe product.

    Donor mothers undergo health and lifestyle screening, also blood tests for HIV, Hep B&C, Syphilis and HTLV

    Milk is expressed hygienically in the donor’s home, frozen and collected regularly by milkbank staff

    Milk is defrosted, pooled and bottled using tamperproof lids. NO mixed pooling between mothers

    Milk is tested. Bottles with bacteria above recommended safe levels are discarded

    Milk is heat treated to 62.5oC for 30 mins to ensure a completely safe product

    Following pasteurisation, milk is refrozen (shelf life 3 months) Trackback labels ensure all milk can be traced and recorded.

“Where it is not possible for the biological mother to breast feed, the first alternative, if available should be the use of human breast milk from other sources.

Human milkbanks should be made available in appropriate situations”

(statement WHO/UNICEF)



United Kingdom Association for Milk Banking (UKAMB)

In 2010, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) published guidelines for the running of milk banks in the UK. Although there are no hard-and-fast rules for babies who can receive donor milk, it is a precious resource and so its use is concentrated on babies who will benefit most. These include very premature babies (born at <32 weeks), those who have had surgery on their intestines, babies with major heart abnormalities, and babies who have a sibling who is receiving donor milk. Parents can also request the use of donor milk, and we would be happy to support you with information for healthcare professionals or the latest evidence related to the advantages of donor milk:

Find a milk Bank using the following link

What is the process of milk banking?

The pasteurised milk is used for premature and sick babies and any hospital can access the milk bank to request donor milk. It is well documented that human milk is the best nutritionfor all babies and especially beneficial to sickand premature infants when the immunity and development is immature. Human milk contains all the essential growth hormones and protective factors necessary fornormal development and is knownto aid the recovery of sick babies who haveundergone surgery.

Mothers in the neonatal units are always supported to provide their own breast milk for their premature babies but this can often be an emotional and challenging time for them. Often, the mother is unwell after a complicated or premature birth andthe baby needs feeding. Donor milk can help bridge the gap until mother is well enough to produce her own milk. Ensuring exclusive human milk feeding can alsoreduce the risks of major gut infections, namely necrotising enterocolitis.Clinicians and nurses in the neonatal unit value the therapeutic qualities and benefit donor milk can offer to this vulnerable group of babies.

Further information can befound by visiting