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Miracle Babies Foundation

Milk Express Packs for Premature Babies

Milk Express Packs for Premature Babies

We will produce Milk Express Packs and distribute them to Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) to support mothers of premature or sick newborns to express, s...

australia > ALL > both
01/02/2021 > 31/12/2021


  • Health/wellbeing & medical research
  • Individual/family services & support


  • Early years (0-5)
  • People with a disability, illness or disease


We will produce Milk Express Packs and distribute them to Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) to support mothers of premature or sick newborns to express, store and transport breastmilk for their baby.

Breastfeeding is more difficult for mothers with babies in the NICU, especially once mums have been discharged while their babies stay weeks or even months in hospital. Yet, due to their low birthweight, weakened immunity and immature digestive systems, premature babies need the nutritional and immunological benefits of breastmilk even more than full-term infants.

Breastmilk contains nutrients essential for growth, provides antibodies to fight infections and diseases, and is more easily digested by tiny bellies than formula, and can be fed to baby via a tube. Research that demonstrates the benefits of breastmilk to premature babies, includes:

– Breastmilk contains many factors that help support a baby’s immune system (Hanson 2004) and lowers the risk of infection in preterm babies. (Narayanan I, Prakash K, Gujral, VV 1981).

– Breastmilk lowers the risk of life-threatening Necrotising Enterocolitis (NEC) which is 6-10 times more likely with formula-fed babies (Lucas A, Col TJ, 1990). Up to half of all infants who develop NEC require surgical treatment and survivors of NEC are at high risk of serious short and long-term complications, including neurodevelopmental impairment (Schulzke 2007). NEC has a 20-40% mortality rate and caused 36 babies to die in Australia in 2016.

– There is a beneficial effect of human milk on neurodevelopment in preterm infants. The mother’s choice to provide breast milk is associated with higher developmental scores at 18 months and a higher IQ (Lucas et al, 1992).

– Breastmilk improves cognitive and motor development of premature infants during infancy (Bier JA, Oliver T, Ferguson AE, Vohr BR, 2002)

In order for mothers to successfully maintain breastfeeding for their babies in the NICU, they require the right practical tools and information, including storage and transportation of breastmilk and ensuring hospital staff are aware that their baby is to be fed breastmilk only.

Milk Express Packs will contain:

– Milk Express Cooler Bag, for safe transportation of breast milk;

– Fridge Magnet for safe breast milk storage with temperatures, days, etc;

– Parent information flyer on the benefits and safe transport/storage of breast milk;

– ‘I’m on Expressed Breast Milk’ Crib Card to inform nurses which babies are on expressed breastmilk;

– NurtureLine Service Magnet with 24-hour family helpline 1300 number.


- The choice for mothers of babies born premature or sick to provide breast milk, if physically capable, is made easier.

- Mothers have the tools to ensure their expressed breast milk is stored and transported safely between home and hospital.

- More premature babies receive the nutritional and immunological benefits of breastmilk while being cared for in the NICU, lowering their risk of infection and disease.

- More babies are able to transition home on breastmilk, improving their long-term health and developmental outcomes.

Profile of Miracle Babies Foundation

Miracle Babies Foundation

Miracle Babies Foundation was formed by mothers of premature and sick newborns in 2005. Bonded by their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) experiences, they shared the desire to support other families of miracle babies and give back to the caring hospitals.

Miracle Babies Foundation is now Australia’s leading organisation supporting premature and sick newborns, their families and the hospitals that care for them, delivering services and/or providing resources to hospitals in all Australian states. Every year in Australia around 48,000 newborns require the help of a NICU or Special Care Nursery(SCN). 27,000 babies are born premature and, sadly, up to 1,000 lose their fight for life.

Our vision is “better, healthier outcomes for newborns and their families challenged by prematurity or sickness”.

For the entire family unit, the experience of having a baby come into the world not as expected or planned is life-changing. Without support, this overwhelming and traumatic experience can have lifelong effects on their emotional wellbeing. The NICU is a place of machines, alarms, medical terms, strict hygiene and what can be frightening and/or confusing conversations between parents and the medical staff. Many babies require the support of a ventilator for their breathing and specialised surgical procedures. Parents must rely on the expertise of doctors and nurses for the care of their tiny babies, with little control over the situation. They cannot hold, cuddle or feed their baby from day 1 - many not until days or even weeks after they are born. Reports of fear, isolation and guilt are typical in these families. Often the mother is struggling to recover from a traumatic birth while learning of her baby's challenges and having to witness a myriad of procedures and tests. More often than not, mums are discharged from hospital many weeks, or even months, before their baby. These parents are at a far greater risk of postnatal depression (2.5 times greater) and PTSD.

Our programs include NurtureTime (in-hospital peer-support), NurtureGroup (peer-support playgroups after hospital discharge), NutureLine (24/7 family supportline). Our resources have been designed by parents who have travelled this journey in collaboration with neonatal health professionals, and include NICU Survival Packs, NICU Grad Bags, Emergency Care Packs, Milk Express Packs and Memory Boxes.

Miracle Babies Foundation also works with hospitals, health professionals and researchers on the joint agenda of better outcomes for families, on research and consumer representation.


Funding sourceAmount
Volunteer in-kind support$1,432
Miracle Babies Foundation$3,533
Funding gap (unconfirmed)$15,000
Expense itemAmount
Milk Express Cooler Bag x 660$6,600
Fridge Magnet for safe Breastmilk Storage with temperatures, days, etc. x 660$1,320
Parent information: print flyer on benefits and safe transport/storage x 660$660
‘I’m on EBM’ Crib Card to inform nurses which babies are on expressed breastmilk x 660$1,320
NurtureLine Service Magnet with 24-hour family helpline 1300 number x 660$660
Information flyers on NurtureProgram and support services x 1320$1,320
Postage/Delivery from Miracle Babies Foundation office to hospitals$1,980
NurtureProgram Resource Co-ordinator - liaison with hospitals, ordering resources, managing volunteers$1,162
In kind volunteer support - packing, assembly$1,432
Storage and office space for packing, storage & distribution$3,511

Support Milk Express Packs for Premature Babies

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