The Human Milk Bank

Irvinestown Human Milk Bank


It contains substances that cannot be synthesized, which help the babies fight viruses and bacteria. It has unique fats that help the immature brain, eye and nervous system develop better for improved intellect and sight.  But probably the most important benefit for the premature baby is that it helps to protect the immature gut from NEC.  This is a life threatening condition that has caused the deaths of many premature babies and left others requiring invasive gut surgery.  Breastmilk also helps protect these babies from pneumonia and septicaemia.  Mothers are wonderful, in that they can produce all these substances and their bodies know what is best for baby.



Baby Lily- was born with her stomach on the outside.  She had major problems with her gut being too short. She was so poorly at birth that her mother’s milk dried up due to the stress of everything. Lily had to be fed by TPN (feeding into her abdomen by bag feed).  For months she was given very small quantities of breastmilk every hour to help her gut mature and grow. We are pleased to say she is now tolerating milk from the breast; as it is the only food she can tolerate for the moment by mouth.

Triplets-Alex, Sean and Tom were all born at 28 weeks gestation, but it was difficult to find cots for them all in the same Neo-Natal Unit, so they were split up in two hospitals, 3 hours drive apart for 6 weeks. Their parents travelled for many hours a week to see their new family, and through tiredness, high mileage and stress, mum was unable to produce all the milk needed to keep her babies well.  So the two units the babies were in received donated milk for the boys. We are delighted to hear that they are all now home and doing well, keeping their parents very busy.


Caoimhe read the article on the extended breastfeeding facebook page and saw the pictures of mothers sending in their stashes of milk. Caoimhe was lucky Ollie weighed 7lbs 8 oz’s when he was born and now at 6 weeks old he was tipping the scales at 12.b 6 oz. Caoimhe knew she could help and contacted the milk bank by email.  She filled in the questionnaire, was accepted as a donor and started filling her bottles. She was fascinated to see all the different colours in her breast milk depending on what she had eaten, as she was filling her bottles in layers. Once all her milk had been used by the bank she was delighted to receive her “Precious Milk for Precious Babies” pin, Caoimhe’s milk helped 5 babies.


Angela contacted us under very sad circumstances. She had delivered Christine not yet 25 weeks and she was whisked off to one of the large regional centre. Angela had to travel nearly 100 miles to see her little Christine. Daily Angela sat in the Neo Natal Unit; she produced lots of mik whilst she watched other mothers struggle to produce enough for their babies. Unfortunately Christine started to have complications, one followed, then another and another and finally her little Christine joined the angels. The family brought the little one home and shortly after the funeral Angela phoned the milk bank, telling us how she desperately wanted Christine’s milk to help other babies. Christine’s milk went out to the units and helped 7 very tiny babies.



In 2016 we helped an incredible 901 babies with a wonderful 1617 litres of donor breast milk. This was only made possible with the help and dedication of all our lovely donors throughout Ireland. As at the end of July 2017 we have issued 905 litres helping a wonderful 594 babies.

None of our work would be possible without the help of our background helpers.  Our sincere thanks and appreciation goes to; Fastway Courier Services, An Post Postal Team, Hospital Transport (in various Trusts)  Special Thanks to the wonderful Blood Bike Teams for our emergency runs.

If you’d like to find out more or get in touch please email us at:




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