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27 February 2017

NI

The only breast milk bank on the Ireland of Ireland is running dangerously low on supplies and could be empty within two weeks if more donations are not received.

The storage facility, in Irvinestown, County Fermanagh, is appealing for urgent donations from current breastfeeding mothers

Speaking to the BBC, Ann McCrea from the facility said the breast milk bank was "one of the reasons" why more very premature babies are surviving.

She commented: "For these tiny, tiny little ones - breast milk is liquid gold, it's liquid medicine," and added, "In some cases, donated milk could mean "the difference between life and death".

The Fermanagh facility, run by the Western Health and Social Care Trust serves every neonatal unit on the island of Ireland.
Last year, it provided milk for more than 900 babies, one of its busiest periods ever, with an increase of 50 babies on the year before.

The health trust has described this as an "exceptional shortage" and has appealed for donors to act quickly, particularly mothers who already have breast milk stored in their own freezer.

The milk bank's manager said it is not the first time stocks have run low and they usually get a very good response to appeals.

"I'm just hoping this is just a temporary crisis," said Ms McCrea.
"Normally when we put out an appeal, mummies out there get their breast pumps out and they help us and the stocks just build up again."

Mothers with babies under 3 months of age, who think that they could provide at least 3 litres of milk, are also needed.

If you are interested in becoming a potential donor please email; tmb.irvinestown@westerntrust.hscni.net or telephone; 028 686 28333/ (048 from ROI

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