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Helping Vulnerable Babies Get a Healthy Start

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Helping Vulnerable Babies Get a Healthy Start

Ontario Celebrates One Year Anniversary of Human Milk Bank

Ministry of Health

Nearly 500 vulnerable newborns and infants in Ontario had a healthier start in life over the past year, thanks to the benefits of donated human breast milk.

One year ago, the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank opened through a partnership between the Ontario government, Mount Sinai Hospital, Hospital for Sick Children and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. The Milk Bank collects, pasteurizes and dispenses donated human breast milk to ensure that babies who need it most have access to the significant health benefits in breast milk. These babies may have very low birth weight, be hospitalized or require surgery.

In the first year of operation, nearly 30,000 ounces of donor milk has been dispensed to Ontario hospitals.  Going forward, nearly 1,000 vulnerable babies will be helped annually by:

  • Boosting their immune system and protecting them from serious and life-threatening infections.
  • Reducing the risk of a severe bowel condition that primarily affects pre-term babies who are not breastfed.
  • Supporting weight gain for pre-term babies.

Helping vulnerable babies get the healthy start they need is a key component of the Healthy Kids Strategy and supports Ontario's Action Plan for Health Care. It is also part of the government's economic plan that is creating jobs for today and tomorrow by focusing on Ontario's greatest strengths -- its people and strategic partnerships.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is providing $1.2 million over six years to support The Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank.
  • Breast milk is donated by healthy mothers who volunteer to help babies in need and who have passed an extensive screening process.
  • Parental consent is required before any baby can receive pasteurized human donor breast milk.
  • The processing of human breast milk adheres to all applicable federal, provincial and municipal laws including the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act and the federal Food and Drug Act.
  • The Human Milk Banking Association of North America established and maintains rigorous guidelines for donor milk banking across North America.

Additional Resources


“Our government is proud to support the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank, which is helping vulnerable babies whose moms can’t produce breast milk to benefit from its life-saving properties. I want to thank the moms who are donating their excess breast milk to these babies, which offers them protection against life-threatening illnesses so that they can become stronger and healthier.”

Deb Matthews

Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“I am incredibly proud of what The Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank has been able to achieve in its first year. Together with our partners, Sunnybrook and Sick Kids, we have made a significant impact for preterm, low birth weight babies in our NICUs, as well as other hospitals across the province. I am particularly grateful for the support and leadership from the Honourable Deb Matthews and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for this initiative, which will allow us to continue to improve care for the tiniest and most vulnerable patients in Ontario for years to come.”

Joseph Mapa

President and CEO, Mount Sinai Hospital

“The success of the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank is such a terrific example of what can be achieved with the partnership between public and philanthropic investment. As a mother, I am incredibly proud of how successful the Milk Bank has been in giving access to donated breast milk to the tiniest and most fragile babies in Ontario.”

Melinda Rogers

Senior Vice President of Strategy & Development, Rogers Communications and Lead Donor The Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank

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Government Health and Wellness