Donor milk delivery by electric vehicle

I never considered myself much of a car person; that is until I discovered a vehicle with a personality and a vital mission.

This vehicle is decorated in “vibrant…indigo and white…featuring the components of human milk…[and] a snowdrop, known as the milk flower,” as described in this piece.

What’s more, the EV was “sustainably wrapped using water-based resin ink and PVC-free media.”

I first learned about the car on Amy Brown’s Breastfeeding Uncovered page.  The EV is the product of a partnership between Swansea University and the Human Milk Foundation which set up a donor milk hub in Wales. The car runs donor milk deliveries and pickups across south and west Wales, expanding the reach of the charity Blood Bikes Wales, an organization that provides a free courier service to the NHS, as explained by Brown here.

Samantha Hoskins has been a breastfeeding peer counselor for 13 years, and since having a baby a year ago, she has donated over  15 liters of her milk to the mission. Hoskins is one of more than 100 women who have donated more than 250 liters of milk since the launch of the donor milk hub.

Photo courtesy of Hoskins

“I’ve always had a keen passion for breastfeeding; there isn’t enough done in our local health board to promote and help the new mums with breastfeeding so I always try to do what I can, help when I can…,” Hoskins says.

She continues, “I don’t think enough is known about breast milk donation. I know there are mixed views about it, so I try and promote it when I have a collection to try and normalise it. To show people that it is something that does go on, to show there is a need for it, to show that it’s something good, to increase knowledge, for realisation that it’s human milk for human babies…
not cow’s milk for human babies.”

Hoskins aims to express her milk once a day.

“I don’t stress about it,” she shares. “Whether it feeds one baby or two, it’s better than none is how I look at it.”

Hoskins goes on to explain the process of preparing milk for transportation which says is very easy: “I express into a bottle that the milk bank provides that also fits my electric pump. When I’ve finished, it goes straight into my freezer. I take a temperature check every day and document it in the paperwork they send.  When I have enough for collection – at least two litres, I email the milk bank, they inform Blood Bikes Wales, who then contact me to arrange a
collection day and time. When they turn up, the milk is taken out of the freezer, the time is noted and put into the blood boxes that fit on the motorbikes. [It’s] then taken straight to Singleton hospital where it gets pasteurised and ready for babies.”

Hoskins reminds us that the UK has some of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world.

“I wish I had the time to help change that, one woman at a time,” she longs.

Liter by liter of liquid gold, women like Hoskins are helping to change that!

You can connect with Hoskins on social media here.

Across an ocean, advocates in the U.S. are working to expand access to donor milk. Take action to support these efforts here.

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