Okanagan Breastfeeding donated milk from a milk drive on Oct. 9 to Kelowna’s new milk depot. From left to right: Tina Parkes, Alana Young, Cheryl Martelli, Rita and Ria Maczek (mom and baby), Lindley Granger, Nicki Albrecht.

New milk donation depot opens in Kelowna to help at-risk babies

Interior Health opened depots in Kelowna and Kamloops earlier this week

Donating breast milk to help Okanagan families with new born babies has become a whole lot easier thanks to a new milk depot in Kelowna.

Interior Health officially opened the collection depot earlier this week to help more people become donors and allow them to donate on a continuous basis, rather than through periodic milk bank drives. A second depot also opened in Kamloops.

“Screened and pasteurized donor human milk is often in high demand at hospitals across the province for premature or sick infants,” said IH newborn director Rob Finch.

“While a mother’s own milk is always the first choice, pasteurized donor human milk is extremely beneficial for at-risk newborns, such as those born prematurely.”

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With the opening of the new depots there are now a total of 28 milk depots across the province. The depots will provide a place for women to drop off raw, frozen milk, which is then transported to the BC Women’s Provincial Milk Bank in Vancouver.

Donors are pre-screened because the milk will be distributed to hospitals throughout B.C where its health-promoting properties, including antibodies which fight infection and disease, will be given to babies in need.

“Two new milk depots for Kelowna and Kamloops will help infants in the very first, fragile stages of their lives, and are incredibly important for those first few days,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix.

“I am proud of Interior Health for making this happen and thank the selfless donors who provide milk to meet the ever-growing demand.”

READ MORE: Breast cancer research builds support in Okanagan thanks to Home Hardware

The BC Women’s Provincial Milk Bank has operated for 45 years and has screened more than 6,500 donors and processed over 60,000 litres of milk.

More information and details can be found at interiorhealth.ca.

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