Where are the breast milk banks in Birmingham? How to donate

Hospitals in Wales now have their own breast milk bank after relying on deliveries from Chester and Birmingham banks previously. The convenience of on-site breast milk banks means that the supply can get to premature and ill babies quicker.

Wales was the only UK nation without a breast milk bank, despite having 11 neonatal units. The milk banks are also known as human milk banks and lactariums.

There are 17 milks banks in the UK that all come under the UK Association for Milk Banking (UKAMB), which was set up in 1997. They collect the milk usually frozen from healthy, nursing mothers who have a surplus of their own milk.

Read more: What is a breast milk bank? Who is eligible to get milk from a milk bank?

Birmingham breast milk banks

There is one single breast milk bank in Birmingham which provides donor milk to other hospitals:

The Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital Milk Bank

To visit the bank and to contact a representative for donating or receiving the donor milk, please see below. It is located inside the women’s and children’s NHS Trust.

Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
Mindelsohn Way
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TG
Marina Rudge
0121 335 8245
bwc.milk.bank@nhs.net

You can find your closest breast milk bank on the UKAMB website here by typing in your location.

How can I donate to milk banks?

To give your breast milk to a milk bank you must ensure that you are eligible, and this will also be checked by the banks. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says that you can not give milk if you smoke or use nicotine products to give up smoking or use illegal drugs, have tested positive for HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C, the human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV) or syphilis, and if you have had a blood transfusion.

Milk banks will screen and test you by inquiring about your medical history and arranging a blood sample test to ensure that you are healthy and the breast milk supply is safe for premature and sick babies. The milk banks may also ask you how much caffeine you take and if you drink more than two units of alcohol per day.

To donate milk, it is recommended that you have started breastfeeding first. But you can start expressing, which is to pump milk, earlier if you have plenty of milk.

The milk bank will send you a questionnaire along with the blood test kit. You should make an appointment with a nurse or GP to take the bloods and then send it back to the bank to be tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C, HTLV and syphilis to ensure that you are eligible to donate.

They will then send you bottles to store and freeze your breast milk. Milk placed in bags can also be accepted. However, bottles are more ideal as they release the fat in the milk to become high-fat milk, which is good for premature babies.

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