New Mother’s Milk Bank at RMC to Host Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at 2 pm on
Tuesday, January 19th
Regional Medical Center (RMC) will open Alabama’s second milk depot for donated human breast milk on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 at the RMC Women & Children’s Pavilion in Anniston, AL. The donated milk will be pasteurized in Birmingham at the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Alabama and will be distributed to hospitals across the state to be given to medically fragile infants.
A human “milk depot’ where breastfeeding mothers can donate breast milk to give to premature or medically fragile babies in Alabama and across the country is a tremendous benefit for Alabama’s most fragile babies. RMC purchased and will house the deep-freezer unit that will store breast milk donations from women across Northeast Alabama. Any lactating woman can become a donor after being screened at no charge.
RMC is so proud and honored to have been selected by the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Alabama to become only the second ‘milk depot’ or satellite drop-off location for donations of breast milk in the state. Many babies who are born prematurely often have underdeveloped gastrointestinal tracts. For these medically fragile or premature infants, it’s important to offer them the most easily digestible milk so they can continue to grow and thrive. Human milk is much easier for these babies to digest than milk-based formulas derived from cows’ milk or soybeans.
There are only 16 donor milk banks in the United States, according to the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, a professional association that supports non-profit donor human milk banking. The milk donated by Northeast Alabama mothers, after going through a pasteurization and screening process, will be given to medically fragile babies in North Alabama hospitals and even beyond, said Katherine Wood, program coordinator for the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Alabama (MMBA), which is headquartered in Birmingham.
The medical community, and many of RMC’s top obstetricians, says breast milk is best for babies whenever possible. For some of RMC’s tiniest and sickest babies who aren’t able to breastfeed normally and their mothers who aren’t able to pump breast milk for them, the non-profit human milk banks, such as the one opening next week at RMC, are invaluable resources that help babies produce antibodies that are vital in their growth and development.
The milk collected at RMC’s Anniston Milk Depot site will be sent to Birmingham and pasteurized there at the Mothers Milk Bank of Alabama. Once milk is donated, it is pooled with 3-10 other donations to make a target calorie count. Pooling the milk also increases the immunological benefits of the milk. The milk is then pasteurized and distributed to hospital-based (Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU’s). If the supply at the MMBA exceeds statewide hospital demand, additional milk supplies will be made available to infants that have gone home from the NICU on pasteurized donor human milk, and to hospitals outside of Alabama.
Screening is important component for donating breast milk. According to Kate Van Meter, RMC’s Director of Marketing, strict screening criteria is in place for accepting, testing and storing donated human breast milk stored at RMC’s Milk Depot.
“In order for mothers to donate breast milk to our accredited milk bank program, they will need to complete a very thorough questionnaire and other necessary forms along with a blood test at a local lab,” Ms. Van Meter said. “Once the paperwork and blood tests are completed, if approved a lactating mother will receive an ID number and can begin dropping off breast milk donations at RMC’s new Milk Depot.”
For babies receiving milk, an equally stringent screening process will be followed and consent process informing mothers of the source of donated breast milk. The milk bank screens potential donors for health reasons. The screening process takes about a week.
Interested women can go to www.mmbal.org, click “How to donate” and download a donation questionnaire and necessary forms.