The Calgary Mothers’ Milk Bank is putting out an urgent call for donations of breast milk.

milk

The shelves are getting bare at in the fridges at the Mothers' Milk Bank. (Alana Baker/CBC)

"We have enough milk to pasteurize two days next week, and then we're completely out of milk,” said executive director Jannette Festival.

While donations have been steady since the bank opened two years ago, demand from hospitals has skyrocketed, she said.

"About one per cent of moms who can donate, donate. It's not very much, we'd really like to see that number increase to two per cent or three per cent."

The milk is sent to hospitals all over the country for babies born prematurely whose own mothers can't produce enough.

"For a premature baby it acts more like medicine than it does a food, and it actually saves lives,” said donor coordinator Lindsay Stewart.

The bank has already processed as much milk this year as all of last year, but it's still not enough, she said.

To keep up with demand, the bank needs around 400 donors this year.