East Tallinn Central Hospital breast milk donor bank turns 14


Today, 17 June, marks 14 years since the establishment of the East Tallinn Central Hospital breast milk donor bank and the start of breast milk donation in Estonia.

Enneaegne beebi kuvöösis

On 17 June 2010, the first breast milk donor bank in the Baltic states was founded at East Tallinn Central Hospital under the leadership of Dr Annika Tiit-Vening and Dr Pille Andresson. Nowadays, there are four breast milk donor banks in the Baltics: two in Estonia and two in Lithuania.

“A woman can become a breast milk donor within six months after giving birth, as that is when the composition of the milk best meets the needs of newborns,” says Marleen Mägi, head of the breast milk donor bank at East Tallinn Central Hospital. “If a woman has decided to donate breast milk, she will first receive counselling. She will then need to fill in the required documents and undergo blood tests. If everything is in order, we will give her a donor code, provide her with the necessary supplies and teach her how to handle and transport the breast milk to the women’s counselling centre.

Breast milk has a unique composition that best meets the needs of newborns. It is particularly important for the recovery of premature and sick newborns from their first hours of life.

The breast milk donor bank sees an average of 25 to 30 donors each year. Since breast milk can only be donated during a limited period of time, it is important to make sure that we have an adequate supply of donor milk. “There are usually fewer donors in the summer due to holidays, travelling, and more people spending time in their summer houses. That is why we need to make additional efforts each spring to ensure a sufficient supply of donor milk for the summer,” Marleen Mägi adds.