Nursing mothers on Vancouver Island can now donate their breast milk in Nanaimo to help support infants across the province.

The province’s newest Donor Milk Collection Depot has just opened in the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, according to Island Health, and is available to receive donations on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday mornings.

The depot collects donations of raw, frozen breast milk which are then pasteurized and transported to the Provincial Milk Bank in Vancouver, from where they are then distributed to infants in Neonatal Intensive Care Units across BC.

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“This new depot gives more women on Vancouver Island the opportunity to help fragile babies get the nutrients they need from breast milk,” said Leah Hollins, Island Health Board Chair in a release.

“Island Health is proud to provide this service at a second location.”

The first Donor Milk Collection Depot opened on Vancouver Island at the Victoria General Hospital in 2016. Since it was created, 17,500 ounces of frozen donated milk have been sent from Victoria to Vancouver.

With Nanaimo’s Breast Milk Depot opening its doors, the health service is looking for more donors.

To donate, volunteers must complete the Provincial Milk Bank’s pre-screening process which consists of a brief telephone interview to assess donors’ health, ensure they are not taking select medications and/or supplements, and a blood test.

Women interested in becoming a breast milk donor can contact Island Health at 604-875-3743 or visit their website online here.

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“We are so happy to have a place for Central Island women to drop off their milk once they are approved donors,” said Juanita Parsonage, Nurse Clinician at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

“This will give more women the opportunity to donate, making it easier for them and, in turn, the most fragile babies in the province will be able to access donor milk,”