Securing a Ready Supply of Human Breast Milk for Vulnerable Babies

Watch the video: ‘Temasek Foundation Cares – Donor Human Milk Bank Programme’.

Breast milk is the best food for babies in the early days of their lives. It provides optimal nutrition, reduces the risk of illnesses and promotes normal growth and development. It is especially critical and can be lifesaving for premature and sick newborn babies whose immature and weak digestive systems cause them to be prone to feeding intolerance.

Unfortunately, for some mothers of premature babies, providing breast milk can be challenging especially in the initial days. In KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), up to 80 percent of sick neonates in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Special Care Nursery have to receive formula milk meant for premature babies due to inadequate supply of breast milk from their own mothers.

A ready supply of safe, pasteurised human breast milk is necessary for these vulnerable babies to benefit from this ideal source of nutrition and to significantly improve their chances of development and recovery. As such, Temasek Foundation Cares has partnered with KKH to launch a three-year pilot for Singapore’s first donor human milk bank programme.

During the pilot period, the milk bank will collect, screen, process, store and dispense breast milk received from donors. Strict international guidelines will be adopted for donor screening, recruitment and education, laboratory testing, processing and storage of the pasteurised milk.

Temasek Foundation Cares has committed a total of S$1.37 million over a three-year period to the Temasek Foundation Cares – Donor Human Milk Bank Programme. The programme aims to recruit 375 eligible mothers willing to donate their excess supply of breast milk for the benefit of approximately 900 vulnerable babies who are born prematurely at less than 32 weeks of gestation, weigh 1.8 kg or less at birth, and are at a high risk of or are diagnosed with necrotising enterocolitis, a lethal gut condition primarily seen in premature infants.

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Be a donor

You can be a donor if your baby is less than one year old and you:
• Do not smoke.
• Do not use illegal drugs or other prohibited substances.
• Do not routinely consume more than two standard alcoholic drinks per day.
• Do not routinely consume three or more cups of coffee, tea, or other caffeine stimulant drinks per day including cola and stimulant soft drinks.
• Have not lived in or travelled to the UK between 1980 and 1996 for a total or cumulative period of six months.
• Have not been tested positive for HIV, Hepatitis B and C or Syphilis.

If you are interested to be a donor and would like to find out more, please visit, email to, or call 6394-1986.

About Temasek Foundation Cares

Temasek Foundation Cares is one of the six non-profit philanthropic organisations set up by Temasek and sponsored through Temasek Trust.
Temasek Foundation Cares funds and supports meaningful and innovative community-based programmes for the benefit of Singaporeans. It aims to contribute to the well-being, dignity and livelihood of needy individuals, families and communities by building people, building communities, building capabilities and rebuilding lives.