Mother's Milk NZ emerged in 2009, after co-founder, Emma, discovered there were no community breast milk banks in New Zealand. Initially MMNZ used a social media platform for mothers/māmā and families/whānau to connect and share milk.
Since the birth of Mother's Milk NZ in 2009, the demand for donor milk steadily increased. Initially most people exclaimed "ew no!", while later on milk recipients were a fringe group of 'well read' parents as the research into breast milk qualities and their unparalleled benefits developed and were published to the public. With the establishment of the first Human Breast Milk Bank in New Zealand opening at Christchurch Hospital in February of 2014, the public awareness exponentially increased and so did the demand.
In 2017 Emma realised there was an increased demand from Christchurch mothers who could not access donor milk from Christchurch Human Milk Bank - as it was reserved for babies within the hospital only. It also became apparent MMNZ needed to freight milk throughout the country, and so, MMNZ filled this demand.
Currently there remains a shortage of screened donor milk across New Zealand.
Mother's Milk NZ would love to see blood screening tests become free for all mothers who have surplus milk to donate, along with the establishment of community breast milk banks in all the major cities, towns and remote rural communities.
The charity is currently run by volunteers and uses grant funding and public donations to help fund blood screening tests when able. Sometimes milk recipients will be asked to contribute towards the blood test costs. Recipients pay a small administration fee and freight if required.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF both recommend mother's own milk is the gold standard for babies and when mothers own milk is not available, then donor breast milk is the next best thing.
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