NSW Health is focussed on providing pasteurised donor human milk to vulnerable premature babies, those born less than 32 weeks gestational age or of a very low birth weight (i.e. <1500 grams).

The NSW Milk Bank is a partnership between NSW Health and the Australian Red Cross Blood Service to provide pasteurised donor human milk (PDHM) to infants at high risk of necrotising enterocolitis (NEC)​ when maternal supply is not sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of the infant.

NEC has considerable morbidity and mortality implications. Human milk feeding has been shown to decrease the risk of NEC, and the World Health Organisation recommends that low birth weight infants who cannot be fed mother’s own milk should be fed donor human milk.  The use of PDHM may be effective in protecting against other high risk conditions in vulnerable infants, such as late-onset sepsis.

The NSW Milk Bank secures a reliable supply of pasteurised donor milk for vulnerable babies in NSW Health Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs).

Key aims

  1. to support mothers of vulnerable infants to optimise breastfeeding
  2. to supplement breastfeeding of vulnerable infants with donor human milk when maternal supply is inadequate
  3. to ensure access to human breast milk is equitable across the state and in accordance with clinical need.

Breast milk donations

Mothers who produce excess breast milk may be able to donate to the Milk Bank.

We would encourage mothers to visit the Australian Red Cross Blood Service Milk Bank for further information.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Page Updated: Tuesday 11 December 2018