Since opening the doors of our new unit in August of 2015, the Mother-Baby unit has welcomed over 2100 new babies into our community. We love caring for our newborns and helping our families with a great start before they go home.
We are very happy to announce that we now have the option to use Donor Milk in our Newborn Nursery for exclusively breastfed babies that have a medical need supplementation. Donor Milk has been used in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for a long time and now we are very happy to have this option available in our Newborn Nursery.
About Donor Milk
Donor milk is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and World Health Organization in times when a mother’s own milk is not available or there is not enough volume. Donor milk is used in addition to mother’s own milk.
Milk Bank donors are mothers just like many of you. They are usually nursing their own babies and making more milk than their baby can use. They choose to donate this extra milk to a milk bank. They receive no payment. Only healthy women who are non-smokers and have a healthy way of living are accepted as donors.
Our hospital obtains milk from Mother’s Milk Bank in Ohio. The milk bank follows the mandatory guidelines from the Human Milk Bank Association of North America (HMBANA) to ensure the safest product. All donors are screened for HIV, Human-Lymphotrophic Virus (HTLV), syphilis and hepatitis. There are no known cases of pasteurized donor milk infecting a baby with the AIDs virus or other diseases. All milk has been pasteurized and then screened for bacteria after pasteurization before it is released from the milk bank.
When is Donor Milk Used?
For babies in our Newborn Nursery, donor milk will be used during times when a baby who is breastfeeding needs milk for a medical reason and mom’s own milk is not available. Reasons include low blood sugar, excessive weight loss, and other reasons determined by the baby’s doctor.
Up until this point, the only option available has been formula. Now, the options will include either formula or donor milk. Using donor milk is temporary and most babies only need one or two feedings. As with breastfeeding babies, our focus is on helping each mother to make enough of her own milk.
Why Donor Milk?
Mom’s own milk is always the best and first choice for our babies. When it cannot come from mom, breast milk given by other healthy moms through the milk bank is the next best thing. Having options for families to choose when their baby needs to be supplemented allows our families to make the right choice for them. We partner with our families to support our goal of healthy moms and healthy babies.
Sandra Sperry is the Assistant Nurse Manager of the Mother-Baby Unit at UVM Medical Center.