The Southwest Neonatal Network Donor Milk Bank was established in November 2011 at Southmead Hospital in Bristol. We are one of 15 UK milk banks and the only one in the South West.

Our aim is to provide safe, screened donor breast milk for all babies who need it within the South West Neonatal Network. The Southwest Neonatal Network Donor Milk Bank provides about 100 bottles of milk to 10 units around the South West and beyond each month.

Why do we need a milk bank?

For premature and vulnerable babies donor breast milk is the next best nutrition if a mother’s own milk is unavailable. It offers specific benefits for these babies:

  • Protection from infection
  • Protection from necrotising enterocolitis
  • Easier to digest

How does it work?

Frozen breast milk is collected from a donor’s home regularly and is delivered to the milk bank to be processed. After pasteurization, donor breast milk is distributed to neonatal units around the south west to be given to babies who may need it.

Being a milk donor

Breast milk donors exclusively breastfeed their own babies. We can accept donations of their excess milk from when their own baby is at least 6 weeks old and until they are about 6 months of age.

Mothers who are interested in donating are screened (in a similar way to blood donation screening) to ensure their milk is safe to be given to premature and sick babies. This process involves a blood test, a visit to the hospital with their baby to meet a member of the milk bank team and the completion of a short lifestyle and medical history questionnaire. If you are interested please contact the Milk Bank on Milk.bank@nbt.nhs.uk 
For further information on donor milk please visit the UKAMB website www.ukamb.org