Lately, there has been a lot talk about milk depots and milk banks and the benefits of mother’s breast milk for at-risk premature babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). What is the difference between a milk depot and a milk bank and why is it important to know?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pasteurized donor human milk be given to premature infants when a mother’s own milk cannot be used and that it helps babies build a stronger immune system and have less risk of infection.
Florida Hospital recently opened Central Florida’s first Milk Depot to help other moms provide crucial nutrients for their critically ill babies. A milk depot is a controlled collection point where women can donate their breast milk for premature babies. “Women interested in donating their breast milk via the Milk Depot find it to be quite simple. They are connected with the Mothers' Milk Bank of Florida who provides the necessary screening and blood testing at no cost to mom. Moms who have been screened drop their frozen donor milk to the Depot where it is temporarily stored in a deep freezer and soon shipped to the Milk Bank in Florida for processing. Busy moms are spared the task of packaging and shipping the donor milk,” says Colleen Andrew, RN, Women's Services at Florida Hospital Orlando.
“In the United States, there is a critical shortage of donor human milk,” said Kari Vargas, assistant vice president at Florida Hospital Orlando. “Donating breast milk is truly a labor of love, and the opening of the Milk Depot will hopefully remove some of the barriers from the donation process and make it more convenient for moms to donate this precious gift.” Last year, Florida Hospital used nearly 10,000 ounces of donor milk to help critically ill babies.
For more information on how you can become a mother’s milk donor, visit FH4Women.com or call (407) 303-2599.