Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast Seeks Milk Donors: Can You Help?
Newton, MA – Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast, a nonprofit human milk bank serving over 100 hospitals as well as outpatients, needs new milk donors. Hospital and outpatient demand for pasteurized donor human milk is increasing and we need those moms who have more milk than their own baby needs to grow and thrive to consider giving.
“It is well known that human milk consumption has been health benefits for babies. For medically fragile babies, it can be lifesaving. We hope mothers who have the ability to work with us so we can provide safe, pasteurized donor milk to babies in need will reach out to us today,”said Deborah Youngblood, Executive Director of the Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast.
Why donor milk is important
Pasteurized donor human milk (PDHM) can be lifesaving for preterm infants. It is especially protective against a life-threatening condition called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), which affects one in ten of the smallest preterm infants. A human milk diet is estimated to lower the risk of this condition by 79%. It also lowers hospital costs by reducing costs for care and shortening hospital stays.
In October 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding issued a report reaffirming the importance of human milk, including pasteurized donor human milk, for very low birthweight infants (1,500 grams or less). The lead author was Dr. Margaret Parker of Boston Medical Center, who serves on the milk bank’s Medical Advisory Board.
“Pasteurized donor human milk is not just food for premature babies; it’s medicine. With more hospitals offering donor milk as standard of care, we need to ensure an ample supply so that no baby who needs donor milk ever goes without it,” remarked Dr. Robert Insoft, Medical Director of Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast.
While donor milk is now widely used for preterm babies in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), an increasing number of hospitals are also offering it for full- and near-term babies, as well as for outpatients leaving the hospital. These uses have also driven up demand. In these cases, it can be offered as a supplement, or “bridge milk,” until mother’s own milk supply increases, and for issues such as hypoglycemia, hyperbilirubinemia, excessive weight loss, and latch problems.
Donor milk screening and safety
Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast collects milk from mothers who have more milk than their babies need; screens, pasteurizes, and tests the milk; then dispenses it to babies whose mothers do not have enough milk for them. Milk donor screening, modeled after blood donor screening, includes health history, physician approval, and blood test. Milk from mothers who pass the screening is also pasteurized and tested by an independent lab to ensure safety before being dispensed to hospitals or families.
How to help
About Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast
Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast is a nonprofit community milk bank accredited by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA). The milk bank has been screening donors, pasteurizing milk, and dispensing to over 100 hospitals and to families throughout the Northeastern United States since 2011. For more information, visit the milk bank’s website at https://milkbankne.org/
When the mothers’ milk is not available , the next best option is Pasteurized Donor Human Milk (PDHM).
Donor Milk is:
- Pumped by healthy lactating volunteers
- Thoroughly screened
- Pasteurized and tested to ensure safety
- Recommended by American Academy of Pediatrics & World Health Organization
- Shown to decrease the risk of disease
- A support to breastfeeding
Donor Milk is Used In:
- Neonatal intensive care units
- Well baby nurseries
- Postpartum as a “bridge” to breastfeeding
- Outpatients as supplementation