Mothers Milk Bank Founder

Marea Ryan

Mothers Milk Bank Founder

Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), RN, RM, BMIV, Parent Educator

Marea Ryan was the Founder/Director of the first community-based Milk Bank in Australia.

In response to the evidence of 96 years of international milk banking in improving health outcomes and thousands of lives saved, Marea recognised the need for Australia to catch up with the rest of the world. Research into setting up Mothers Milk Bank started in 2005. Funds raised by the community to provide pasteurised donor mothers milk to a baby named Ty, who had been referred by his paediatrician, Dr Mc Master said “This baby is failing to thrive to the extent that he would not survive unless he received breast milk”. Ty’s Mother had a medical condition that resulted in milk expression of only 30mls a day. Ty was tried on every cow’s milk formula, even one imported from the USA. He experienced pain and vomited each feed. Providing safe donor breast milk for babies in such need was evident.

Marea established a purpose-built milk bank facility in 2009, and with the extensive support from all sections of the community, we have seen donor mothers’ milk save lives and improve health outcomes for over a thousand babies. In 2013, official recognition of breast milk as a health benefit for all babies was recognised with registered as a “Health Promotion” Charity.

The charitable purpose is to provide education, support and pasteurised donor mothers milk to babies whose nutritional health needs are not being met or recognised. All babies have a right to healthy food ONLY breast milk can do this. Marea received the Community Service award presented by Karen Andrews MP Minister for Science and Technology.

Marea retired in 2020 but her legacy will live on and help hundreds of babies across Australia.

We would love to discuss how working with us can save and definitely improve the short and long term health of newborn infants.

In recognition of the escalating incidence of Gestation Diabetes and the impact this was having on babies and mothers in the first week of life, as a critical time for these vulnerable babies, the diabetes project was launched. Marea began working with our first nation people to provide education on the importance of preventing the complications of this disease. In 2008, Ruby Hunter (singer songwriter, actor) respected across the nation for her work, joined Marea in her support to promote the need for a mothers’ milk bank and to educate young first nation mothers on the importance to of breastfeeding and see these babies in need receive only breastmilk in the first week of life.

​Marea has extensive experience as a Registered Midwife, Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), Hospital Based Midwifery Care Manager and Parent Educator. Marea established the first midwifery inclusive model of care sensitive to the individual needs of families as the prime focus of orientation and lead a team of health professionals to achieve the recognition by the World Health Organisation and UNICEF of Queensland’s first “Baby Friendly” family friendly Hospital. Marea designed the first ergonomic family inclusive hospital birth centre in response to the community needs. A blue print in design for hospitals to replicate.

The team at MMBC has the dedication and commitment to have the nutritional health needs of all babies recognised .

​Breastfeeding mothers helping other mothers in need. A beauty in our culture to give to help others in need is evident through the experience of the community support received over the years.