10th December 2014
I found out about donating breast milk through a charity myself and my husband set up in memory of our first daughter. She was born with a serious heart defect and was also very small. Whilst she fought bravely for 5 months, we ultimately lost her in 2007. Following her death we wanted to show our appreciation to our local neonatal unit at Kings Mill Hospital, Mansfield, where Emily had spent most of her life and we set up the Emily Harris Foundation in her memory. Since that time we have provided support to the families and staff on the neonatal unit in a variety of ways. In September 2013, we were approached by the Infant Feeding Co-ordinator at the hospital who wanted to trial the use of donor breast milk on the neonatal unit but needed funding to do this. We were delighted to be able to support this trial and funded the first batches of breast milk to be used. The trial was so successful that the NHS have continued to fund the use of donor breast milk and over 12 months later it is still going strong!
Since losing Emily, we have been blessed with another three beautiful daughters and I have been fortunate to be able to breastfeed them all. I had also expressed my milk for Emily who was tube fed throughout her life and knew that I was one of the lucky ones who can produce pints of the stuff! At the time of funding the donor breast milk trial at our local hospital, I was pregnant with our fourth child. I therefore decided that it was a great opportunity for me to become a donor and requested information from the Infant Feeding Co-ordinator about the Northwest Human Milk Bank where they were obtaining the milk from. From my first telephone conversation, the whole process was so straightforward and I was able to donate until my daughter was 9 months old. It has been a privilege to be able to help in some very small way, knowing that my milk could have made such a huge difference to a family who may be experiencing one of the most stressful times of their life.
If you are considering donating, please do so – once you get into a routine, it’s really not difficult at all – the Milk Bank make it very easy!
Thank you for taking the time to read my story and if you would like to know more about our charity, please do take a look at our website – www.emilyharrisfoundation.org, ‘like’ our Facebook page – www.facebook.com/emilyharrisfoundation or follow us on Twitter – @EmHFoundation.