At last August’s opening, Alexandra Allen and daughter Malena deliver a batch of pumped breast milk to Richmond Community & Family Health Public Health Nurse Maureen Lister (pictured left) at the new breast milk donation depot, located at 8100 Granville Avenue in Richmond. IN the 10 months since, the Richmond depot has become the region’s busiest collection point.

Richmond Milk Bank depot busiest in region

Since opening last August, Richmond’s Milk Bank Depot, located at 8100 Granville Avenue, is the most successful depot in the VCH network of BC Women’s Provincial Milk Bank collection sites.

Regular donors have provided the Richmond depot with a total of 250.17 kg of milk — the equivalent of 62, four-litre milk jugs — the highest donation rate of any of the five collection depots located in Vancouver, Squamish and on the North Shore.

Richmond Community and Family Health Public Health Nurses believe a combination of factors is responsible for Richmond’s success, including a convenient location and welcoming environment.

“Not only is the depot located in a convenient location with a welcoming environment, but donors are also pre-screened so our reception staff can receive the milk in an easy, smooth transfer,” said Gail Morrow, Public Health Nurse, Richmond Early Years Program.

Added Richmond Public Health Dietitian Anne Swann:  “It might have something to do with the fact that we are supporting the moms who donate by replacing their milk collection bags (so they don’t have that additional expense). We also did a big promotion in the fall, sending out posters to all the doctors and midwives offices, and also to pharmacies that rent breast pumps.”

Additionally, Morrow and Swann agree that providing information to moms through home visits and parent groups also increases awareness of the need for donated breast milk.

Part of a provincial program

Donations made at the Richmond Milk Bank depot are delivered to the BC Women’s Provincial Milk Bank where it is pasteurized, then distributed to the babies most in need at neonatal intensive care units. The demand for donor human milk continuously exceeds supply, and the BC Women’s Provincial Milk Bank and VCH are always looking for healthy mothers who have more breast milk than they need for their own baby.

“We know human milk is the best food for babies, but some new mothers face challenges that prevent them from breastfeeding,” said Maureen Lister, Public Health Nurse, VCH Richmond, at the time of the Richmond depot’s opening last year.  “Donor milk has active beneficial properties and is similar to mother’s own milk. It provides babies with antibodies to fight disease and infection, which is especially vital for premature or babies battling medical conditions.”

One comment

  1. Sina LePage says:

    My name is Sina (Program Support). It is my honour to support, welcome and thank each mom who brings in a precious frozen breast milk donation to the Richmond Milk Depot. I always ensure to give each mom special thanks and a warm welcome to the Richmond Milk Depot. Some mom’s donate as much as 50lbs at one time, but no matter how big or small the donation, each donation is very precious and meaningful to the baby on the receiving end. To date, I have collected & processed 640 lbs of frozen breast milk! Way to go moms!

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