Christchurch Women's Hospital's Neonatal Unit (NICU) has a philosophy that where possible, breast milk is promoted as the milk of choice for babies, especially for those born preterm or unwell. To further support this philosophy NICU proudly opened New Zealand's first Human Pasteurised Donor Milk Bank in February 2014. The Human Milk Bank is located on the same floor as the Neonatal Unit with its own storage freezers and staff who undertake the pasteurising of the milk and administrative tasks.
The aim of the Human Milk Bank is to provide an alternative to formula when a mother's own milk supply is not meeting the nutritional demands of her baby or when a baby is at significant risk of a condition known as necrotising enterocolitis (NEC). This alternative is pasteurised human milk gifted by other mothers.
The Human Donor Milk Bank is managed by a clinical nurse. A milk aide works alongside the clinical nurse, pasteurising and testing donated milk. They are involved in working with consenting donors and coordinating the pasteurisation and supply processes. They also monitor systems in place to ensure the safety and quality of donor human milk.
Together they work closely with the doctors, nurses, infant feeding specialist and dietician staff to identify both potential donors and babies eligible to receive pasteurised donor milk. A committee of dedicated people has worked hard to make this service available to a vulnerable neonatal population. They are known as the Milk Bank Executive Committee and includes the following staff:
Anthea Franks (Clinical Nurse & Milk Bank Manager)
Maggie Meeks (Neonatal Consultant)
Helen Little (Dietitian)
Bernard Hutchinson (Associate Clinical Nursing Manager)
Hazel McGregor (Infant Feeding Specialist)
Kathy Simmons (Māori Cultural Adviser (Kaiawhina Whaea me Nga Peepi)
Please note that the Human Donor Milk Bank is staffed on:
Monday - 8am-3pm
Tuesday - 8am-3pm
Wednesday - CLOSED
Thursday - 8am-3pm
Friday - 8am-3pm
Saturday/Sunday - CLOSED
If you wish to speak to the Milk Bank Manager, she is available on Tuesdays only between 8am and 4:30pm. At other times email the Milk Bank or leave a voice message on the phone and someone will get back to you.
Phone: (03) 364 4344
A team of Midwives, Neonatal Nurses, Doctors and other professionals has made the Human Donor Milk Bank possible. This work has been supported by CDHB infection prevention and control teams, Canterbury Health Laboratory, quality and safety, information technology, Māori Cultural Adviser. To all of you we thank you.
The Bank's opening could not be achieved without the generous support of the Canterbury Neonatal Unit Trust Fund. Read about how to how to support the Trust at www.canterburyneonatal.org.nz
We would also like to acknowledge the help from Nascor pty, Ltd and all of our overseas colleagues including those in Australia and at the United Kingdom Association of Milk Banking (UKAMB) for their advice and guidance.
To those mothers who have provided the gift of milk to our babies so far and for those donors of the future we sincerely thank you.