Tiffany Jones-Waite stands with her daughter, 14-month-old Finley Waite. Tiffany will be donating breast milk for the first time as part of the Okanagan milk drive on June 21. - Credit: Photo Contributed

Breast milk drive comes to Okanagan

A breast milk drive will be held at multiple locations in the Okanagan, June 21

Breast milk is an important nutrient for babies that helps prevent illness. But some mothers are unable to produce the milk.

Those mothers turn to breast milk donors.

The Okanagan’s first breast milk drive will be held June 21 in Penticton, West Kelowna, Kelowna and Vernon.

Tiffany Jones-Waite will donate milk in Kelowna for the first time.

She decided to become a donor after her daughter, Finley Waite, was born prematurely.

“I thought, well I can kind of give back to the other moms that need it.

She believes the Okanagan should have its own donor site.

“I wanted to donate sooner but to get the milk out there you either have to be going down to the Coast or you have to ship it, and shipping it is extremely expensive because you have to use dry ice to keep it at a cool temperature,” she said.

“When mothers are unable to produce enough of their own milk, pasteurized donor human milk is the next recommended option (especially for sick and premature babies,)” reads a BC Women’s Provincial Health Bank release.

“Human milk has properties that can’t be replicated in formula, helping prevent serious illness and even newborn death from a complication called necrotizing enterocolitis, a disease of the intestines.”

To donate, donors must be screened beforehand which includes form completions and blood tests.

The milk donations will be collected and shipped to Vancouver, said Frances Jones, coordinator of lactation services of the BC Women’s Provincial Milk Bank.

Currently, there are 24 milk depots around the province. The milk bank is always looking for donors.

The goal of the Okanagan milk drive is to raise awareness about the provincial milk bank.

The milk banks will be held June 21 at at Jumping Beans in Penticton from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Westside Maternity in West Kelowna and Kelowna Malachite Midwives from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and at the Vernon Boys and Girls Club from 9 to 10 a.m.

For more: www.okanaganbreastfeeding.org.

Interested mothers are asked to contact the BC Women’s Provincial Milk Bank at 604-875-3743 or Lindley Granger at 250-460-2515. For more information go to www.bcwomens.ca (and search milk bank) or www.okanaganbreastfeeding.org.