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Donor Breast Milk Benefits Preemies

Donor Breast Milk Benefits Preemies

One in eight babies is born preterm and a significant number of moms with premature babies are not able to breastfeed. Donor milk banking plays an important role in meeting the critical nutritional needs of these babies. A new milk bank depot in Ochsner Baptist Hospital will give lactating women a drop off location for their donations of breast milk. Ochsner Baptist is equipped with a freezer and will accept breast milk around the clock.

“I encourage those who may have a surplus of breast milk to become donors,” says current milk bank donor Emily Martin. “You can help other babies become healthy and strong. The process is painless and anything helps. It’s very rewarding to help another family.”

A number of families have already benefited from donor milk and are quick to acknowledge the positive effects it had on their babies.

“Donor milk helped my baby thrive,” states Lakita Wickware, who delivered her son, Ray Charles, prematurely at Ochsner Baptist. “Because he came early, my milk had not come in yet and I wasn’t able to breastfeed. The doctor in the NICU told me donor milk was an option.”

Women who are currently breastfeeding infants under one year old are eligible to be screened at no charge to become breast milk donors. Collection sites like Ochsner Baptist are called ‘depots’, because they function as user-friendly and safe satellite storage facilities. Women have the convenience of a location closer to home and milk is kept frozen before it is shipped to the Milk Bank at Austin for pasteurization. Research shows that the method of pasteurization used at the Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin preserves approximately 70% of the immune factors that help protect babies from illness. Before pasteurized milk is dispensed, bacteriological testing is done to ensure its safety.

Ochsner is currently planning the development of a full-service milk bank that will screen, process and distribute donated breast milk to NICUs across the region.

Get Involved!

Mothers who would like to donate should contact Laura Tankersley at The Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin by calling 512-494-0800 or emailing laurat@milkbank.org. The process to donate requires an advance health screening and blood test. All costs for screenings are covered by the Milk Bank. Once screening is complete, women will be able to conveniently drop off frozen breast milk 24/7 at Ochsner Baptist located at 2700 Napoleon Avenue in New Orleans. Potential donors can also visit The Mother’s Milk Bank of Louisiana at Ochsner Baptist website – www.ochsner.org/services/mothers-milk-bank-at-ochsner-baptist.

To support the milk depot at Ochsner and the development of a fully functional milk bank in the community, contact Traci Lucas, CFRE, Director of Development for Women and Children at 504-894-2017 or traci.lucas@ochsner.org.

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