The Women’s Clinic at Overlake Medical Center has opened a Mother’s Milk Depot, where moms can donate their breast milk to infants in need. Overlake is one of only a few hospitals in Western Washington to offer a local donation location to mothers in the greater Seattle area.
“We’re very excited to bring this new, vital service to our community,” said Lynne Sanders, manager of Overlake Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. “Our top priority is providing evidence-based treatment and best practice to those in our care, including the hospital’s youngest patients in our NICU.”
Today, The Keller Group got the privilege to see the impact of the breast milk donated to the Mother’s Milk Depot firsthand when our staff visited 32 week old Leif in Overlake Medical Center’s NICU.
Leif was born premature at 28 weeks, and has been in the NICU at Overlake for almost 5 weeks. When he was born, Leif’s mother’s breast milk had not come in yet, so he received donated breast milk in order to get the crucial nutrition that he needed to survive.
Twenty-seven-year-old Madeleine Williams, a donor and mother to her own 7-month-old son, is hoping more mothers will donate surplus breast milk. She recently donated more than 300 ounces of surplus breast milk to Overlake’s new milk depot. Williams works in Overlake Medical Center’s Emergency Department as a nurse.
“We’ve been so blessed with a healthy child,” Williams said; but she also knows there are families who are not able to produce milk for their premature infants. “There are babies out there who are dying because they don’t have this nourishing milk that they need for their bodies. I feel so lucky to be able to give such a unique gift,” she continued.
With the opening of its Mother’s Milk Depot, Overlake hopes to make it more convenient for moms to donate and serve its infants. Last year, Overlake’s NICU used more than 1,000 ounces of donated human milk to treat critically ill premature infants.
“Donating breast milk is a true labor of love that can provide life-saving nutrition and immune support to fragile, premature babies,” said Mother’s Milk Depot manager Sandra Salmon, RN, who specializes in mom and baby care as a part of the Overlake Medical Clinics Women’s Clinic. “With the opening of our milk depot, we’re looking for mothers who would like to join our efforts to provide the best support possible to these infants.”
Frequently Asked Questions about Mother’s Milk Depots:
1. What is a milk depot? – A milk depot is a controlled collection point where healthy, lactating women can donate their surplus breast milk for premature babies. The milk collection, shipping, processing and distribution are overseen by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), an organization consisting of many banks and collection depots throughout the United States and Canada. The Overlake Mother’s Milk Depot partners with the Mother’s Milk Bank of Colorado, which provides the necessary screening and blood testing at no cost to donating moms.
2. Why should moms donate their breast milk? – Donated breast milk provides life-saving nutrition to premature babies. In the United States, there is a critical shortage of donated human milk. According to HMBANA, there 60,000 low birth weight infants born every year who need donated breast milk for life-saving nourishment.
3. Why is human breast milk important to pre-term infants? – According to the American Academy of Pediatrics:
“The benefits of feeding human milk to preterm infants are realized not only in the NICU, but also in the fewer hospital readmissions for illness in the three years after hospital discharge. The potent benefits of human milk are such that all preterm infants should receive human milk. Milk from the infant’s own mother, fresh or previously frozen, should be the primary diet, and it should be fortified appropriately for the infant born weighing less than 1.5 kg [3.3 lbs]. If the mother’s milk is unavailable despite significant lactation support, pasteurized donor milk should be used.”
4. How does the process work? – Moms who have been screened and accepted as prospective donors can come to Overlake Women’s Clinic to drop off their frozen breast milk and blood work to be tested at their outpatient lab. The milk is temporarily stored in a deep freeze state before being shipped, along with blood samples, to Mother’s Milk Bank in Colorado for processing. By providing this service, Overlake spares busy, nursing moms the task of packaging and shipping their donated milk.
5. Who can donate? – Healthy lactating moms with infants under 1 year of age can be screened to be a donor.
For more information on donating breast milk at Overlake’s Mother’s Milk Depot please call: (425) 635-6150 and/or visit www.overlakehospital.org
Local media was on site to capture the story of Leif and Overlake’s new Mother’s Milk Depot, check it out by clicking on the links below: