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Website: heartsmilkbank.org
Twitter: @heartsmilkbank
Location:
East Anglia

The Hearts Milk Bank is a not-for-profit social enterprise established by Dr Natalie Shenker and Gillian Weaver. As the first non-NHS milk bank, its main aim is to provide access to donor breast milk and bring a new approach to the provision of milk bank services.

Milk Donor App - ShareLab Fund grantee. Image credit Kerri Frischknecht

Operating in a similar way to a blood transfusion service, the milk bank supplies surplus breast milk to feed babies in need - be it premature or sick babies whose own mother is unable to provide milk.

Co-Founder of Hearts Milk Bank, Dr Natalie Shenker says: “The impact on mothers is phenomenal. We’ve seen mothers bordering on postnatal depression and donor milk can provide a huge amount of confidence and reassurance."

We’ve seen mothers bordering on postnatal depression and donor milk can provide a huge amount of confidence and reassurance

Natalie Shenker

With recent evidence showing that the UK has some of the worst breastfeeding rates in the world and a lack of awareness on the difference between human milk and formula, Hearts Milk Bank is also working to combat these broader social factors.

As of 1 August 2018, Hearts Milk Bank has become a registered charity with the launch of the Human Milk Foundation that will help drive investments and grants.

As demand continues to grow for donor milk, Hearts Milk Bank is looking at new ways to scale operations, and has looked to the United States for inspiration.

“Denver is the biggest milk bank in the United States and we’ve been looking at the models they use to see what we can adopt to enable us to produce more milk at a lower cost,” says Natalie.