Elvie UK enable the Hearts Milk Bank to provide free breast pumps to bereaved mums wishing to donate their milk to help other babies

The Hearts Milk Bank has launched a new programme of support for milk donors in partnership with Elvie UK, to offer mums who wish to donate their milk following the death of their baby the use of a free breast pump if they are otherwise unable to access one. The milk bank, supported by the charity The Human Milk Foundation provides donor human milk to sick premature babies in hospital neonatal intensive care units and to mums at home with cancer and other conditions. Much like donated blood, donor human milk can be life-saving for tiny babies.

The Hearts Milk Bank team closely supports each individual milk donor who chooses to donate their precious gift of donor milk, but this is even more crucial for mums who choose to donate their milk following the death of their baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, or early death. For these mothers, donating milk can be especially poignant. Dr. Natalie Shenker – Co-Founder of the Hearts Milk Bank said,  “We realise just how important it can be for mothers to donate, even while coping with the greatest pain, to know that their gift can help others. They know that through donating, their baby is helping other babies and families. It is our greatest responsibility to help make the process as simple and supportive for each mother as possible, so each mother can donate milk for as long as she would like, and we are so grateful to Elvie for adding another way to do this.” The Elvie pump, launched in September 2018 is a portable, electric and wireless pump that enables mothers to express their milk in a discreet and convenient way.

The Hearts Milk Bank wishes to thank and honour each and every one of their bereaved milk donors for their selfless gift. To mark this project, illustrator Emily Culpeper (@culpepercreates) has donated a thank you card design featuring the snowdrop flower – known as ‘the milk flower’, which will be sent to every bereaved milk donor on behalf of the families they have helped. The charity team is also embarking on a project to plant a crop of snowdrop flowers in the shape of a heart outside the milk bank at the Rothamsted Institute, Harpenden. This will be the first in a series of beautiful local sites designed to raise awareness of the importance of milk banking and the life-saving gift of milk donation. 


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