Human milk drive arrives in the Okanagan

The first human milk drive in Vernon took place on Wednesday

  • Jun. 25, 2017 9:00 a.m.

A campaign is underway to ensure infants can grow to be healthy.

OK Breastfeeding hosted the first ever milk drive at the Vernon Boys and Girls Club Wednesday, and organizers were satisfied with the results, which brought in two donations of litres of milk.

“A lot of the moms couldn’t get the ball rolling for this drive, but they will be planning for the fall one,” said Amanda Kopiak, Vernon Breastfeeding Cafe facilitator.

One of the moms who donated, Kyla Henry, was able to give back with her donation after she needed milk from the bank when her baby was born six-weeks premature.

Accessing human milk can be a challenge for mothers across the province.

B.C. Women’s Provincial Milk Bank was one of the few that stayed open when the HIV scare occurred years ago, and other banks have just started opening in the last 15 years.

“B.C. women have a long history of hanging in there,” said Phyllis Turner, breastfeeding support nurse.

Women who are looking to donate can go through a screening test and then start collecting and freezing their milk with date labels on the bag.

The mission with these collection drives is to one day get a depot or milk bank in the Okanagan.

“Interior Health needs a milk bank,” said Jackie Moran, public health nurse.

Turner added that there’s a lack of milk in the banks and the importance of more donations will always exist due to the high-demand of milk needed for sick babies.

The mothers who donate, go through a screening process and once all of the milk is collected, it is tested, mixed, and then pasteurized.

“All of the screening tests can be done in the Vernon area,” said Kopiak.

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