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Donate Milk at the Birth Centre

Are you a mother who would like to donate milk? Are you a GP who needs more information about the screening process?

Contact NorthernStar Mothers Milk Bank by calling 1-403-475-6455 or visiting www.northernstarmilkbank.ca.

 

Milk Drop FAQ

On December 2, 2015 the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) in collaboration with Women’s Health Clinic and NorthernStar Mothers Milk Bank, announced the creation of a Milk Drop for donated breast milk at the Birth Centre (603 St. Mary’s Road) in Winnipeg: www.wrha.mb.ca/media/releases/2015/151202.php.

 

What is a Milk Drop?

A Milk Drop is a place for nursing women who have been prescreened and accepted as donors by NorthernStar Mothers Milk Bank to drop off their breast milk. Once accepted as donors, NorthernStar will provide them with the supplies they need to package their milk, as well as specific instructions for storing it before they deliver it to the Milk Drop.

 

Where is the Milk Drop located?

The Milk Drop is located at the Birth Centre (603 St Mary’s Road at St Anne’s Road).

 

What is the NorthernStar Mothers Milk Bank?

The NorthernStar Mothers Milk Bank (located in Calgary) is Canada’s only community-based milk bank: www.northernstarmilkbank.ca. As a charitable organization, NorthernStar screens breastfeeding mothers as milk donors, accepting their excess milk as donations to be pasteurized in the laboratory and dispensed to sick babies in hospitals and in the community. NorthernStar believes, and science endorses, that donor human milk is the best option for any baby and that all babies should have access to the life-saving nutrients of donor human milk. As advocates and champions for healthy babies, NorthernStar’s goal is to connect donor human milk with as many sick and fragile babies as possible.

 

When will the Birth Centre start accepting milk donations?

Starting January 4, 2016, the Birth Centre will accept breast milk from donors approved by NorthernStar Mothers Milk Bank.

 

Who receives donated breast milk?

In Winnipeg, donated breast milk is prioritized for the tiniest, sickest neonates at the Health Science’s Centre and St. Boniface Hospital. These babies weigh less than 1,500 grams.

 

Who can donate breast milk?

Milk Bank donors are healthy, conscientious women who provide their milk for selfless reasons. They are most often:

  • Nursing their own babies (who are under one year of age) and have a milk supply that’s abundant enough to donate their excess
  • Women that placed babies for adoption or acted as a surrogate
  • Mothers who have lost their baby

 

How much milk is required from donors?

Donor moms are asked to donate at least 4,500 ml (150 ounces) of breast milk for their first donation. There is no volume requirement for subsequent donations.

 

Are special containers required for milk donation?

No. Sterilized, food-grade, rigid plastic containers are best. Milk stored in milk storage bags can also be donated. Baggies should not be used. Hard plastic, pre-sterilized storage containers are available free of charge to donor mothers, and can be picked up at our drop site (603 St. Mary’s Road).

 

Are donors paid for their milk?

No. All milk donors are volunteers who donate for selfless reasons. We do not provide financial compensation in any way for donor human milk donations.

 

I’d like to donate my breast milk. What do I do now?

You must first contact the NorthernStar Mothers Milk Bank (1-403-475-6455 or contact@northernstarmilkbank.ca) or visit www.northernstarmilkbank.ca to apply. You will need to complete a preliminary screening by telephone, followed by a written questionnaire. There are forms and blood tests for your healthcare provider to complete as well. If approved, you will be sent the materials needed to collect your breast milk, as well as detailed instructions about how to store it until you are able to deliver it to the Milk Drop. For more information on the donating process, visit: www.northernstarmilkbank.ca/give-donate/

 

Can every nursing woman donate?

No. The following conditions would prevent a woman from becoming an approved donor:

  • Use of certain medications
  • Use of herbal supplements to increase milk supply
  • A positive test for HIV, HTLV (Human T-lymphotropic Virus), hepatitis B or C, or syphilis
  • You or your partner are at risk for HIV
  • Use of illegal drugs
  • Use of tobacco products (including electronic cigarettes)
  • Consumption of more than 2 servings of alcohol per day
  • Visited or lived in:
    • The United Kingdom or France for more than 3 months between 1980 and 1996
    • Europe for more than 5 years since 1980
    • Saudi Arabia for more than 6 months between 1980 and 1996

Can nurse practitioners and midwives sign the health care provider forms, in addition to doctors?

Yes.

 

Are there costs associated with donating?

There are no costs associated with donating, except for your physical transportation of breast milk to the Birth Centre.

 

When can I drop off my milk donation at the Birth Centre?

The hours of the Birth Centre are as follows (unless otherwise posted):

 

Sunday Closed
Monday 9 am– 8 pm
Tuesday 9 am– 8 pm
Wednesday 9 am– 8 pm
Thursday 9 am– 8 pm
Friday 9 am– 4:30 pm
Saturday Closed

 

I’d like to donate, but I live outside of Winnipeg. Can I arrange for my milk to be picked up?

Unfortunately, we are not able to pick up milk donations. You (or a designate) must find a way to physically drop off your milk donation to the Birth Centre (603 St. Mary’s Road) while ensuring safe storage of milk while it is being transported.

 

Who can I contact for more information?

Melissa Hoft
Winnipeg Regional Health Authority
P: 204-926-7180 C: 204-299-0152 E: mhoft@wrha.mb.ca

 

Amy Tuckett
Women’s Health Clinic (Birth Centre)
P: 204-947-2422 ext. 147 C: 204-996-6289 E: atuckett@womenshealthclinic.org

 

Janette Festival
NorthernStar Mothers Milk Bank
P: 403-475-6455 E: director@northernstarmilkbank.ca