Calgary Mothers’ Milk Bank (CMMB) recently opened its doors as the second breast milk bank in Canada (the other is in Vancouver). The mission of this community-based organization: ‘To provide pasteurized human donor milk to protect, promote and support the health of babies.’ Breast milk enhances babies’ immune systems, and those fed breast milk exclusively for six months to one year have lower rates of allergies and common childhood infections. But many mothers are unable to produce enough milk, and this can be especially critical for premature babies or those with medical problems.
Jannette Festival, CMMB’s executive director, is impressed by the initial response to a call for milk donors. ‘After a month, we already had 50 of the 80 moms we’ll need to provide 1,200 litres of milk for our first year. We’ve also had overwhelming support from the Calgary medical community.’ Festival also points to an unexpected’but sad’benefit of the bank: It’s a way for mothers who have lost a baby to feel they have created a meaningful legacy for their child.