A DEDICATED team is calling on Southampton residents to consider donating breast milk to help sick and premature newborn babies.

The Milk Bank team at Princess Anne Hospital is raising awareness of the benefits of donating ahead of World Human Milk Donation Day next week.

Emma Seymore, who started working on the neonatal unit over 12 years ago, has spoken out about her experience donating.

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She said: "When I learned that due to various reasons such as illness, medication and difficulties at birth, that this impacted mothers being able to feed their own babies, I immediately thought how incredible it was that other women were donating their precious milk to help feed those babies who are in need of a vital thing to survive – food.

"Throughout my years on the unit, I have seen many babies of different gestations and with varying health complications benefit from donor breast milk – this absolutely made the easy decision for me that when I had my own baby, I wanted to contribute to this also."

When Emma's son was around one month old and in a good feeding routine, she felt it was the right time to start donation.

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Breastfeeding for me, was an extremely enjoyable thing and I thrived on the bonding experience it gave me and my baby boy," she said.

"I never felt expressing for other babies was a chore - of course, sometimes hard in regards to being tired and wanting to go straight back to bed after a breastfeed but I knew what a difference my milk would make and I knew how lucky I was to be in the position to provide the milk to such vulnerable babies."

Emma has now been back at work for six months and has joined the Milk Bank team.

The donor milk bank team comprises of two senior HCAs, three assistant practitioners, a senior sister and a neonatal consultant.

The team works together to provide safe donor breastmilk to any sick/premature babies that are in hospital.

The Milk Bank collects, screens, pasteurises and distributes donor breastmilk to babies within the Princess Anne Hospital and other hospitals in the South.

On May 19, World Human Milk Donation Day, the team are hosting a display showing statistics, the milk donation journey, stories from some of our donors and information about our Human Milk Bank on E level (next to AMT café) at the Princess Anne Hospital.

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