Human Milkbank

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)

Page last updated: 21 October 2018

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