Most people understand—and a wealth of scientific evidence shows—that breast milk is the best possible source of nutrition for infants, especially babies born prematurely or with a low birth weight.
Mother’s milk offers babies very important health benefits, including lower incidence of asthma, allergies, severe lower respiratory tract infections, childhood leukemia, SIDS, and many other diseases.
What happens when the mother of a baby can’t breastfeed, or can’t produce the amount of milk her baby needs?
To learn more about donating breast milk at the Providence Mothers' Milk Depot, call (425) 258-7140
There is an alternative to baby formula that is far more nutritious: Milk from a human milk bank. A donor milk bank is a service established to collect, screen, process and distribute donated human milk. Donor milk banks accept milk from lactating mothers who have undergone careful screening, similar to the way blood banks screen donors. The milk is donated to a central milk bank for processing, then is made available for purchase by hospitals and individuals for feeding sick and fragile infants.
Providence Regional has opened a Mothers' Milk Depot to help provide mothers' milk to the babies who need it most. This is the first site of its kind in the Puget Sound region, and Malorie Hilscher, a 31-year-old new mom, was the depot’s very first donor.
“Breastfeeding is best, there’s no question, and I’m grateful that I was able to do it for my daughter,” Malorie says. “But I know a lot of mothers have a problem with their supply or with making breastfeeding work.”
Malorie says she pumps her milk and stores it in the freezer, and she has enough surplus that at times she has thrown some away. “Once I started learning about the benefits donated milk can have for premature babies— that having access to human milk can make so much difference in the health of these fragile infants—I realized I could really help.”
Providence Regional sends donated milk to Presbyterian/ St. Luke’s Medical Center Mothers’ Milk Bank in Denver, CO, an agency that adheres to the principles of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America.
“As proponents for moms and babies, we focus on best practices, patient and family centered care, and encouraging informed choices in infant feeding,” says Dr. Isabella Knox, a neonatologist and associate medical director for the Providence Newborn Intensive Care Unit.
“Human milk cannot be manufactured, and the supply is reliant on the generous donations of busy lactating mothers. Participating in this process is the right thing to do, and we are pleased to be able to help our caring donors, who make such a tremendous impact for babies.”
Got breast milk? New hospital program in Everett takes donations
(Seattle Times, April 20, 2012)