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Donor Milk

Information for

Please do not apply if you are not a health professional requesting donor milk, nor if you are outside the Midcentral District, ie Manawatu, Horowhenua, Tararua.   If you are a parent or caregiver, ask your health provider to refer you. 

What is Donor Milk?

Donor milk comes from screened breastfeeding women. The milk is pasteurised and tested to make it the safest option of all the supplements if a mother’s own milk is insufficient or unavailable.


Why  choose donor milk?

For the first 6 months of life, the most suitable food for a baby is breast milk alone. A mother's own milk, even in the tiniest quantities, is usually the best food for her baby. The World Health Organisation recommends the use of donor human milk as the supplement of choice, if mother’s own milk is insufficient, unavailable or unsuitable for consumption.

Who can access the milk?

The donor milk is for the pēpi  who had or are receiving care, within the MidCentral DHB's district, if a supporting health professional believes that the baby is in need of donor milk.

The bulk of the pasteurised donor milk goes to the neonatal unit for fragile premature babies, but a very limited supply may be available for babies with excess weight loss in the community, or when a mother has a sudden medical emergency that requires separation from an exclusively breastfed baby.  In most cases, it is expected that a mother is optimising her own supply with the help of a lactation consultant.

Since the underlying aim of a community milk bank is to help mothers keep babies exclusively on breast milk, we are unlikely to supply milk to babies who have already been given formula.


What is the cost?

Milk is FREE for the recipients.

The cost of providing pasteurised breast milk is substantial, however.  We are grateful for the support we have received, which enables us to provide our donor milk free of charge at this time. 


Process of receiving donor milk:

We welcome referrals from Lactation Consultants, Midwives, GPs or Well Child Providers.

This can be done via the form on this website, contacting us on Messenger, or texting 027 266 9547. 

Phone calls will only be taken between 9 and noon Monday to Friday, or 9 to 10 am on weekends.  

We will work together to arrange the amount of frozen milk the baby requires and the length of time.

It can be a matter of just a few feeds, days or weeks depending on the circumstances.

We usually issue a maximum of 2 days supply at any one time, at which stage the needs will be reviewed together, depending on stock.

Do we have enough milk?

In an ideal world, we would have enough milk for all pēpi that need donor milk, however supplies of donor milk may be limited at times. In these cases, we use our triage system to prioritise feeding the smallest and most vulnerable pēpi first, while their mothers build up their own milk supplies. There are other rare circumstances where babies have no access to milk from their mothers. We would also like to help these babies have the gift of breast milk for as long as is feasible. 

Pregnant mothers

Discuss with your clients and consider recording on their birthing plan/wishlist that donor milk is the preferred choice in the unlikely event the pēpi requires supplemental feeding.

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