The Milk Bank

. Posted in RBWHFoundation




All babies deserve the best start in life... some babies have to fight for it!

12% of all babies are born premature.  6% of babies are actually born more than 12 weeks premature.  And many of these babies have to stay in hospital for around 10 to 20 weeks.

Without doubt, these babies face the toughest start to life.  It is also one of the most stressful life events for their parents and family.

The Grantley Stable Neonatal Unit (GSNU) at Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (RBWH) currently cares for more than 1,500 premature and seriously-ill babies every year.  Babies are admitted from all over Queensland and Northern New South Wales.

The Neonatal Unit and its staff currently provide these babies with the best possible care, which now includes access to pasturised donor human milk when their mothers can't produce her own.  The RBWH Milk Bank screens and pasteurises the milk from eligible donors.  Providing this service helps reduce the length of stay, improves survival rates and reduces the stress placed on families. 

Why breast milk?Helen_McConachy_in_Milk_Bank

Premature babies have an immature immune system.

The benefits of giving natural breast milk to a premature baby include:

  • Immunologic protection against many organisms;
  • Maturation, particularly in the gastrointestinal tract;
  • Protection for immature tissue;
  • Promotion of healing tissue damaged by infection;
  • Optimal nutrition; and
  • Easy digestion.

Why a Milk Bank?

The World Health Organisation recommends breast milk as the ideal food for healthy growth and development of babies, as it is proven to reduce the risk of complications and infections.

Sometimes women have trouble producing enough of their own milk or, in cases of premature birth, any milk at all.

Mothers of pre-term babies nearly all try to express their own milk, but they often find themselves in  very artificial and stressful situations and their milk supply is low.

In the absence of their own milk, having donor breast milk available through the RBWH Milk Bank provides parents with an alternative to formula and the choice to give their baby optimal nutrition.  Artificial formula has been shown to be detrimental to preterm infants.

We need your help

The RBWH Milk Bank is largely funded by community donations and grants.

Please consider making a financial donation towards the RBWH Milk Bank, via RBWH Foundation, so we can ensure this facility will continue to save lives into the future.

Funding is needed to cover the ongoing running costs of the Milk Bank and it is also our dream that the service can be expanded to help premature babies in other Neonatal Units around Queensland.

To make a financial donation you can either donate online, download a donation form or call the Foundation on 07 3646 7588.

If you wish to find out more about donating breast milk please email   


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