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FY 2016-2017

Donor Human Milk Bank Programme
First donor human milk bank in Singapore to provide safe, pasteurised donor human milk to premature and sick infants
Partners: KK Women's and Children's Hospital, Singapore General Hospital, National University Hospital

1 in 10 babies are born preterm in Singapore. Due to inadequate supply of their mothers' milk, 80% of premature and sick infants receive formula milk, either partially or exclusively, during their hospital stay.

Formula milk increases the risk of complications, such as feeding intolerance and a potentially fatal gut condition, known as necrotising enterocolitis.

A safe and natural source of nutrition is therefore needed for premature and sick infants.

The Donor Human Milk Bank programme aims to provide safe, pasteurised donor human milk for premature and sick babies. With the best form of nutrition for these babies in the early days of their lives, the goal is to enable them to have better health and developmental outcomes.

The programme entails:

  • Establishment of the first donor human milk bank programme at KKH to provide safe, pasteurised donor human milk for premature and sick infants whose mothers are unable to provide an adequate supply of breast milk for them
  • Recruitment of 375 donors with stringent donor criteria
  • Processing, pasteurisation and storage of donor human milk at an appropriately equipped facility, to be given to premature and/or sick infants under the care of KKH, NUH and SGH

900 premature and sick infants are expected to benefit from this programme over three years.

“Pre-term babies have a sensitive digestive system. They cannot digest formula milk well. Breast milk is safer and it naturally contains antibodies. If there is a donor milk bank, it will help reduce the stress for mummies like us. Our preterm babies can then receive the best nutrition and have a better fighting chance.”

- Madam Eden Ang, mother of Emmanuelle born at 27 weeks of gestation

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