Waterbury Hospital in Connecticut has partnered with Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast, a nonprofit community milk bank, to offer donor human milk to premature babies.
“We are pleased to be the only hospital in the area to offer donor human milk to our premature and sick infants” said Michelle Jose RN, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
Human milk can be lifesaving for preterm infants. It is especially protective against a life-threatening condition called necrotizing enterocolitis, which affects one in ten of the smallest preterm infants. Human milk lowers the risk of this condition in premature infants and shortens hospital stays.
“Human milk has so many benefits for babies offering the nutrients and antibodies they need. For babies born prematurely, donor human milk offers the best source of nutrition,” said Dr. Yeisid Gozzo medical director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Waterbury Hospital, part of the Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital Neonatal network.
Donor milk is the preferred supplement to mothers’ own milk for preterm infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). In addition, an increasing number of community hospitals with regular and special care nurseries use donor milk when babies need a supplement and mothers are still working to establish lactation.
Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast collects milk from volunteer mothers who have a desire to share and help babies in need. A typical donor mother may be a mother with an excess supply or a bereaved mother. Milk donor screening is modeled after blood donor screening, and includes a health history, physician approval, and blood testing. Milk from mothers who pass the screening is also pasteurized and tested by an independent lab to ensure safety before being dispensed to hospitals or families. Donor human milk must be obtained with a provider’s order.
Waterbury hospital provides a series of programs to support parents and to promote and support breastfeeding including free on-line birthing classes and breastfeeding classes. For more information, visit, classes and services.
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