Appeal for life-saving donated breast milk

Appeal for life-saving donated breast milk

Australian Red Cross Lifeblood is calling for mothers in the Brisbane area with excess breast milk to help restock the freezers for the state’s premature and low birth-weight babies.

Donated breast milk is essential when a mother’s own milk is not available for these babies to help them grow and prevent health complications, including a type of gut infection called necrotising enterocolitis that can be fatal.

Lifeblood currently supplies 120 litres of milk to 19 hospitals across Queensland every month “on demand” from a milk facility located in Brisbane.

Lifeblood Milk Service Manager Chris Sulfaro said the service needed to triple the number of donors it has in Brisbane to keep up with demand, with the service currently at less than two weeks’ supply.

“Right now, we’re relying on milk donations given by mothers in other states to help meet our demand here in Queensland, and we’re calling for new donors who may have more milk than they need to find out about donating their breast milk.

“We’re particularly looking for mothers who live within the wider Brisbane area and have more than three litres of frozen or expressed milk that is less than 10 weeks old, and who pass our eligibility criteria, to get in touch.”

To make donating as easy as possible for donors, mothers can express, freeze, and store their breastmilk in their own home or hospital, if their baby is still in hospital.

“Donations are picked up from the donor’s home or at the hospital by one of our milk donor coordinators, who are there to support and guide mums throughout the whole donation process,” Chris added.

She said that many mothers need a bridge of support while their own supply is establishing, if they have a baby in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

“Donated breast milk is liquid gold for premature or very sick and small babies and is the best source of nutrition when a mother’s own milk is not available.”

Lifeblood’s milk service operates nationally and currently supplies donated breast milk to 35 hospitals in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia, and ACT.

The service currently has around 300 donors in the Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane areas and supplies 5500 litres of milk every year, with demand this year expected to jump to 6000 litres.

Information about becoming a donor can be found at Watch video here about our milk service. Audio grabs and b roll can be found here


For images or further information please contact:  Belinda Smetioukh, 0432 793 904