Recently, AdventHealth Daytona Beach opened the county’s first human milk donor depot. Women can now donate their breast milk right in their local community,instead of traveling to Orlando or Jacksonville.
You might be wondering why a woman would want to donate her human milk. But if we told you that it could save a premature baby’s life, the answer becomes quite clear.
A Milk Depot Collects Donated Breast milk for Babies in the NICU
When a mother’s own milk cannot be used, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends donating pasteurized donor human milk to premature infants. This is because breast milk helps premature babies build a stronger immune system and decreases their risk of infection.
A milk depot, like the one at AdventHealth Daytona Beach, is a controlled collection point where women can donate their breast milk specifically for premature babies.
AdventHealth Daytona Beach gives donated milk to the Mother’s Milk Bank of Florida, who then processes the milk and distributes it to NICUs (Neonatal Intensive Care Units) by physician prescription using the safe screening, processing, and dispensing guidelines from the Human Milk Banking Association of North America.
How Human Milk Can Save Lives
Premature infants are at risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a disease that damages or destroys the digestive tract and often requires surgery to repair or remove the intestines. In a preterm infant, this surgery can be dangerous and NEC can cause lifelong complications.
Breast milk can help prevent NEC because it provides ideal nutrition while fighting infection by repairing the intestines.
According to the Mother’s Milk Bank of Florida, only 1.5 percent of extremely preterm infants fed human milk acquire NEC, compared to 10 to 17 percent fed formula.
Donated Human Milk Helps Mothers of Premature Babies, Too
New mothers of premature babies may experience many challenges to providing their own milk to their baby. According to the Mothers' Milk Bank of Florida:
- Premature delivery can affect a mother’s milk supply, causing it to become delayed or not established enough to sufficiently meet the nutritional needs of her baby.
- The demands can be too great with twins or triplets.
- The stress of having a hospitalized, ill infant can hinder milk production.
- A mother’s medications can pass into breast milk and be harmful to the infant.
- A chronic infection such as HIV or HTLV, or another medical condition can prohibit breastfeeding.
- A breast infection can temporarily affect milk production.
The Process for Donating Human Milk is Easy
The process to donate breast milk via AdventHealth Daytona Beach’s Milk Depot is quite simple.Women interested in donating are guided by our Lactation Services team who can help them receive the initial screening at no cost. Afterward, women can schedule their milk drop off so a lactation services representative can meet them curbside so they never have to leave the car to donating, making the process easy, quick and convenient.
If you are interested in donating your human milk to help premature babies thrive, speak to one of our lactation professionals today by calling the Mother’s Milk Bank of Florida at Call407-248-5050.