When it comes to infant feeding, breast milk offers optimal nutritional benefits for newborns. In fact, breast milk is often referred to as “liquid gold”. But preterm infants do not often have access to their mother’s own milk, which could lead to complications for those in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Knowing this, Ada was compelled to donate her breast milk after her daughter Alexie was born, “We all either know someone personally or have heard stories of hospitalized babies who are desperately fighting for their chance at life,” she said. “Knowing that these fragile babies can benefit from donor milk to increase their chances of survival during this emotional roller coaster for new parents brings tears to my eyes.”
Many mothers of extremely vulnerable hospitalized babies are unable to provide the necessary volume of milk for their babies. When mother’s own milk is not available or is limited, pasteurized donor milk is recommended as an alternative to formula by The Canadian Paediatric Society for sick hospitalized infants.
There are approximately 1,500 low birth weight babies in Ontario a year and 70 per cent of preterm babies in hospitals across Ontario don’t have access to a full supply of their mother’s own milk, leaving them with reduced vital nutrients and protective properties. Donating breastmilk can help save a preterm baby’s life by dramatically reducing the rate of a serious medical complication.
Ada was very determined to help NICU babies in need. She set a goal to donate 100 litres of her own milk to the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank. Ada achieved her goal after 14 months and has donated 116 litres to the Milk Bank to-date.
“I am extremely honoured to have experienced this and hope that I can inspire others who may be thinking of donating their milk.”
For breastfeeding mothers, Ada encourages those who are eligible to consider becoming a donor – large or small – because for NICU babies fighting for their life, every drop counts.
“Breast milk is a precious gift so I think of it as a gift from one mommy to another. If you are able to produce more milk than what your baby needs, please consider sharing this amazing food that can be lifesaving for medically fragile hospitalized babies. If your lifestyle cannot accommodate a milk donation, consider making a financial contribution to support the Milk Bank in their journey to connect donor milk to as many babies as possible.”
During this World Breastfeeding Week, the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank would like to acknowledge and thank all breastfeeding mothers for their generosity and contribution to the Milk Bank over the years.
If you’re interested in becoming a donor or learning more about human milk banking, visit milkbankontario.ca.