Saint Elizabeth Announces the Grand Opening of Mother’s Milk DepotAugust 01 2013
Today, Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center announces the grand opening of the Mother’s Milk Depot, Lincoln’s first collection site for donated breast milk.
Mother’s Milk Depot will collect breast milk from mothers who wish to donate breast milk to help at-risk babies in the Saint Elizabeth Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
“In the United States, there is a shortage of human donor breast milk,” says DeLana Ramirez RN, interim director of children’s services at Saint Elizabeth. “Opening the milk depot will allow us to do our part to increase the supply. The milk depot provides a way for donors to share a precious gift with newborns that have a critical need for the protection and nourishment that can only be provided by human milk.”
The Academy of Pediatrics recommends pasteurized donor human milk to premature infants when a mother’s own milk is not available. Donor breast milk helps preterm or medically fragile babies build strong immune systems and it is easier on the digestive system. Since 2007, premature babies under 1500 grams in the Saint Elizabeth NICU have been receiving donor breast milk and more than 7,600 ounces of breast milk have been given to babies in need.
“Donor human breast milk is a valuable and rare commodity that has been shown to improve outcomes in at-risk infants,” said BJ Wilson, MD, neonatologist and medical director of the Saint Elizabeth NICU. “We are excited and proud to make this resource available so that mothers can donate their excess breast milk to help a greater number of vulnerable infants.”
All donors will be pre-screened and tested through an intensive process to ensure that they are healthy. Saint Elizabeth has partnered with the Mother’s Milk Bank of Iowa to provide this service to the Lincoln area. Once the mom brings her donation to the milk depot, it is stored in a deep freeze until is delivered to the Mother’s Milk Bank of Iowa for processing. The donor milk is pasteurized and tested prior to bottling to ensure that it is safe for the baby and is also nutritionally sound. Frozen donor milk is transported from the milk bank to hospitals and given to babies in need.
The process of becoming a milk donor is a simple three step process that includes a phone interview, a health history questionnaire and a blood test, which is completed at no charge to the donor at the Saint Elizabeth Outpatient Lab. Once the donor has been approved, a convenient time will be arranged for milk drop off. We even offer ‘curbside pickup’ for busy donors.
The opening of the Mother’s Milk Depot at Saint Elizabeth is part of their continued commitment to providing women and babies with comprehensive medical resources. Opening the depot coincides with World Breastfeeding week, August 1 – 7. The week is dedicated to building an understanding of the importance of breastfeeding and donating surplus milk to infants who can’t get it from biological moms.
Mother’s Milk Depot is located on the main level at Saint Elizabeth in the Infant and Children’s Sleep Apnea Center and will offer convenient drop-off to those who are donating breast milk to help other babies.
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