Mothers Milk Bank Founder Directors

Marea Ryan

Mothers Milk Bank Founder and Director, 

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

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

Contact Marea for any questions you may have on  0413 727 545

In response to the evidence of 96 years of international milk banking of improves 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 started in 2005.  Funds raised by the community to provide pasteurised donor mothers milk to a baby Ty referred by his paediatrician. Dr Mc Master “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 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 has 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.

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.

Marea has the dedication and commitment to have the nutritional health needs of all babies recognised is ongoing. In this vein has welcomed a new Mothers Milk Bank Charity Director Professor Richard Banati and his team of researchers in order to develop the donor human milk emergency reserve. 2020 will see the Mothers Milk Bank’s growth develop the necessary increase in supply to see babies rights to healthy nutrition 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 last 14 years.

Kelly West 

Director of MMBC 

Midwife and Nutritionist. 

2019 Midwife of the year - Gold Coast University Hospital.  

Originally from Brazil, breastfed by a wet nurse and educated her whole life on the importance of donor breastmilk. 

Kelly has been living in Australia since 1999, she has a degree in Nutritional Medicine, in Midwifery and is currently undertaking a Master in Primary Maternity Health. 


Kelly’s involvement with MMBC started in 2010 after the birth of her second son and a surplus supply of breastmilk. Kelly became a milk donor and quickly found herself inspired by the charity and part of the MMBC team. 


Kelly understands and believes Pasteurized Donor Human Milk is extremely essential for the sick and premature baby.  However she strongly believes equity access to Pasteurized Donor Human Milk is necessary so every baby that is 

unable to have their own mother’s milk at birth is able to receive the best nutritional food possible at the start of life. 

Breastmilk is medicine!