Woman holding her pre-term baby

There is more evidence that donated breastmilk helps saves lives of preterm infants in neonatal intensive care units. A new study led by Dr. Sharon Unger, Staff Neonatologist and Director of the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank, located at Mount Sinai Hospital, and Dr. Debbie O’Connor, Senior Associate Scientist in Physiology & Experimental Medicine at SickKids and Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto showed that using donor milk to supplement mother’s own milk for preterm babies in NICUs reduces the incidence of a severe and potentially fatal bowel emergency called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) from 6.6% to 1.7%. This is welcome news, as NEC is the a common cause of mortality for infants in the NICU.

Mount Sinai Hospital, with partners The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, launched the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank in 2013. It collects, pasteurizes and distributes donated breast milk to vulnerable infants in Neonatal Intensive Care Units across Ontario.

Read Dr. Unger and Dr. O’Connor’s perspective on the finding.
Learn more about the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank or to find out how to donate.