The Center for Women and Families at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis now serves as a breast milk depot, where donors can bring breast milk for shipping to a milk bank.
Donors who meet the criteria can make a difference in the life of premature or medically fragile infants by sharing the miracle of breast milk. Donated milk often comes from mothers who are producing more milk than their own babies can consume.
The breast milk depot was made possible through a generous grant from the Women Investing in Samaritan Health giving circle and in partnership with the Mothers’ Milk Bank in Denver Colorado. Milk collected at the Center for Women and Families will be shipped to the Mothers’ Milk Bank for distribution to infants in need.
The Mothers' Milk Bank screens, collects, processes, stores and dispenses breast milk as a community service. Recipients are babies whose mothers cannot supply sufficient milk for their little ones' special health needs.
“The milk depot at Good Sam was also inspired by the Northwest Mothers Milk Bank project in Portland, that is working to open a milk bank in Oregon, but needs more local supplies of donor milk,” said Lactation Consultant Debbie Alba of the Center for Women & Families. “We looked at our community’s high breastfeeding rates and decided that we would be the perfect location to increase the donor milk supply in our region.”
Donor milk is primarily used for medically fragile babies where it can make a significant difference in a baby’s ability to stay healthy, sometimes even preventing illness that can be fatal. It also increases the rate of exclusive breast milk feeding of infants, which has numerous proven health benefits. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months, due to the health risks of supplementing with formula.
Breastfeeding protects against a variety of diseases, including respiratory tract infections, otitis media, urinary tract infections, late-onset sepsis in preterm infants, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, childhood obesity, lymphoma, leukemia and Hodgkins disease.
“When supplementation is medically indicated, having access to banked donor milk provides sustenance while protecting the fragile digestive tract of the infant and maintaining exclusive exposure to breast milk,” Alba explained.
There is currently more need than supply for donor milk, with future requests expected to go up with the implementation of a handful of national initiatives promoting breastfeeding. The Mothers’ Milk Bank in Colorado reports a 70 percent increase in requests over the last year, and is currently not able to meet the demand. There are only 10 milk depots in the state of Oregon, the closest one being in Portland.
Those interested in learning more, or finding out how to become a donor, may call the Mothers’ Milk Bank at (877) 458-5503 or visit www.milkbankcolorado.org