February 18, 2016 1:35 pm
Updated: February 18, 2016 10:33 pm

Edmonton now home to two breast milk drop sites

WATCH ABOVE: In Thursday’s edition of Health Matters, Su-Ling Goh looks at why a second breast milk drop-off location has opened in Edmonton and how it could save lives. Also, how new research in Alberta is looking to slow the accelerated aging experienced by people with HIV.


EDMONTON – The Royal Alexandra Hospital is now home to a breast milk drop site, making it the second such site in Edmonton.

The grand opening of the site at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women was celebrated Thursday morning. The new site is a joint venture between Alberta Health Services and NorthernStar Mothers Milk Bank, Canada’s only community-based milk bank.

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Breast milk that is dropped off at the site is then sent to NorthernStar’s lab in Calgary to be pasteurized. It is then distributed to babies across Canada. The sickest babies receive the milk first, AHS said.

Janie Tyrrell, the executive director for women’s health with AHS, said while a mother’s own milk is preferred, it’s not always available for some babies.

“Scientific research supports that babies who receive donor human milk become stronger and more resilient, reducing their time in hospital and reducing their likelihood of illness as children and adults,” Tyrrell said.

“Edmonton is a giving, vibrant community and we know many mothers will be interested in participating in this important, life-changing donor program.”

There are two other milk banks in Canada, which are operated by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. The hospital-based banks are located at the B.C. Women’s Hospital in Vancouver and Rogers Hixon Milk Bank in Toronto.

READ MORE: Calgary breast milk bank rebrands, expands and calls for more donors

Edmonton already has one milk drop site, at the Grey Nuns Hospital.

New breast milk drop sites recently opened in Red Deer and Grande Prairie. There are now 11 milk drop locations in Alberta.

“Across our prairie provinces, these milk drop locations remove barriers for donor mothers to participate in a movement that saves lives,” Jannette Festival, executive director of NorthernStar Mothers Milk Bank, said.

NorthernStar dispenses more than 130,000 ounces of donor breast milk each year.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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