Unfortunately, there are times when a mother may experience a delay in her milk coming in, or is unable to produce enough, and her baby is unable to receive the benefits a mother’s milk provides. In these instances breast milk donated by healthy, prescreened mothers is a precious substitute to ensure babies can get off to the best start in life.
Milk donation may be new to some, but banking breast milk has been around since 1910 and hospitals in Utah have been using donated milk in NICU’s since the early 2000’s. Mothers own milk is always preferred but the next best option is pasteurized donor human milk. Babies born premature, or who are medically fragile, that receive donated breast milk often do better and are released from the hospital sooner. This ‘liquid gold’, as some call it, is vital for these babies to grow and survive.
In a recent statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics it states, published evidence-based studies have confirmed and quantitated the risks of not breastfeeding. The potent benefits of human milk are such that all preterm infants should receive human milk. If mother’s own milk is unavailable despite significant lactation support, pasteurized donor milk should be used.”
How to donate
New mothers who are breastfeeding may find they produce more milk than their child can consume. Many mothers pump excess milk and store it for future use, but some find they never use the surplus. Rather than throwing away the extra milk, it can be donated to a Mother’s Milk Donation Center.
Women that would like to donate milk must complete a telephone prescreening and blood test before their milk can be pasteurized and distributed for use. Screening ensures that a woman who donates her milk is healthy, takes no regular medications, and has more than enough milk to meet her own baby’s needs. Donors must be non-smokers with no history of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or other risky behavior. The blood test must come back negative for certain infectious diseases.
Following the screening, approved women are sent a hygienic collection kit and instruction for handling and donating the milk. Once a woman commits to donating 150 oz before their babies first year she can bring it to a collection site. The commitment of milk helps reduce the cost it takes to screen donors and ship milk. Milk that was previously pumped and stored (frozen) may be accepted if it is less than eight months old.
All milk collected is packaged and sent to the Mother’s Milk Bank in Denver Colorado (a program of Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation), for processing and distribution. The donated milk is pasteurized to destroy any bacteria but preserves majority of the milks nutrients. The milk bank conducts further tests to further ensure it is safe for babies who need it. The milk is then sent to more than 120 different hospitals in 24 states.
Intermountain Healthcare in collaboration with Mountain West Mothers Milk Bank and Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation to accept milk donations and provide blood testing at locations throughout the state including 3 donation sites in the Salt Lake Valley:
Open now:Intermountain Salt Lake Clinic
333 South 900 East
Salt Lake City, Utah 84102
Accepts donations Tuesdays, 9-4pm
Intermountain Sandy Clinic
9450 South 1300 East Suite 210
Sandy, Utah 84094
Park City Medical Center
900 Round Valley Drive
Park City, Utah 84098
Kaysville Creekside Clinic
435 N. Main Street
Kaysville, Utah 84037
Accepts donation Thursdays, 9-3pm
Dixie Regional Medical Center
1380 East Medical Center Drive
St. George, Utah 84790
Layton Clinic – Opens March 15th
2075 University Park Blvd.
Layton, Utah 84041
If you have interest in becoming a donor you can be prescreened over the phone by calling the Milk Bank in Denver at 303-869-1888 or toll free at 877-458-5503. They can also answer any questions regarding the donation process.
If you are in need of donated milk a prescription written by your baby’s doctor is required. Please contact the Mothers Milk Bank for more information.