* Please note, this post was originally published on the 11th May but disappeared during a blogger maintenance update. I have republished this post again today - appologies to anyone who may have already read this on their RSS feed etc...
*Please also note, there is a copy of the response I got from Karen Lewis at the bottom of the post - this was not originally published.
Ok so, I've given birth at the PRUH (princess royal university hospital, farnborough nr Bromley), had a midwife show me how to breastfeed, seen a breastfeeding counsellor at the PRUH and had a stay on children's ward with my then 5week old breastfed baby. I'm currently on my second pregnancy at 33weeks and have been under consultant care at the PRUH where I am planning on giving birth again and already been asked if I will be breastfeeding again and I've also had a stay in hospital with a bleed in this pregnancy.
My point is that during two pregnancies, a number of hospital stays and breastfeeding assistance, I have spent quite a bit of time at the PRUH but in all that time, not once has the milk bank been mentioned to me, nor have I seen any posters or leaflets! - The only reason I know of it's existence was via a tweet on twitter from the NCT trust - apparently there is a milk shortage!? - anyone know why?! Really, would it hurt to stick up a poster or too?
The milk bank at the pruh is nothing new, it was one of the first to open in the UK and there are only 17 of them in the whole country. It's been open on and off for over 40 years.
The milk bank is at the pruh to support premature babies at the PRUH, Woolwhich and Sidcup - The little lovelies need breast milk to survive - particularly in the younger ones - they just can't handle formula milk and because they are born so early, not all their mummies can produce milk yet. So yep - donations of breast milk is important! Those that can spare some, should really if they can.
All donated milk is pasteurised and to become a milk donor you will have a blood test to check you don't have illnesses or anything that can be passed through milk, and you will be asked a few lifestyle questions such as if you smoke. Your baby needs to be under 6months too.
The hospital will provide you with sterile bottles to store your milk in after you have expressed it and will ask you to freeze it. The pruh will also collect your frozen milk from you regularly.
If you are interested in donating your milk, you can read more here or contact:
Contact name: Karen Lewis & Jean Rae
Phone: 01689 864924 (most likely to get an answerphone but please leave a message)
Emma in Bromley x
UPDATE - Response and additional information provided by Karen Lewis: