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Urgent appeal for breast milk 28.02.17

IRELAND'S only breast milk bank has appealed for donors due to a "drastic" shortage of the life-saving baby food.
The Milk Bank at Irvinestown, Co Fermanagh, issued the appeal to mothers nationwide including Donegal, saying breast milk supplies - particularly for premature babies - are critically low. This is despite "heavy recruitment" of donors in recent times.
The bank provides breast milk, which it describes as "liquid gold" and "liquid medicine" for more than 900 babies each year.
But it says it has been "exceptionally busy for months, caring for increasingly smaller babies and helping a greater number of multiple births across Ireland, North and South, which has resulted in them using up large quantities of donated breast milk". This has "drastically reduced" the stocks of milk left in the bank, it said.
"The Milk Bank is appealing to mothers that may have a quantity of milk in their freezer, for help, particularly if this milk is (for) a premature baby where stocks are at their lowest.
"Mothers with babies under three months of age, who think that they could provide at least three litres of milk, are also needed," the organisation said in a weekend statement.
Donated milk being preserved at the Fermanagh Breast Milk Bank.
The Fermanagh Milk Bank, which opened almost 17 years ago, is run by the Western Health and Social Care Trust and receives donations from across Ireland every year. It issued some 1,500 litres of milk to neonatal units nationwide in 2015, helping some 856 babies. These included 90 sets of twins and 17 sets of triplets. All donated milk has to be screened for diseases including HIV, Hepatitis C and Syphilis. Potential donors are asked to contact tmb.irvinestown@westerntrsut.hscni.net or ring 048 686 28333 and staff will provide guidance through the donation process.
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