New moms in La Plata County may now share their excess milk with newborns in need through a new donation center at Mercy Regional Medical Center.
Some of the earliest meals for sick newborns at Mercy come from donated breast milk through the Mothers’ Milk Bank based in the Denver area, said Jennifer Hyson, director of women’s services. The new center in the Family Birth Center will allow new mothers to contribute milk back to the bank, an organization that redistributes the milk across the country.
Donor milk is preferable to formula, which can be more difficult for some babies to digest, said registered nurse Diné Campbell.
“Currently, we use donor milk for any infants who require supplementation due to medical conditions such as: hypoglycemia, jaundice, low birth weight and many others,” she said in a written statement.
A handful of babies in the neonatal intensive care unit use milk donated through the bank each month, Hyson said.
Now, mothers in La Plata County can help other children and families in need, she said.
“We have been benefiting from the Mothers’ Milk Bank for several years. It is a really good feeling to know we can contribute back,” she said.
One particular mother was so excited about the opportunity she started donating to the Mothers’ Milk Bank directly, before the drop-off site for milk was opened at Mercy, Hyson said. Several others have already expressed interest, Hyson said.
Any mother who has excess milk she doesn’t expect to need is welcome to donate it, Hyson said.
Milk that is within six months old may be taken by the new donation center. Interested women must set up an appointment with the lactation office for an initial screening and blood test before donating, Hyson said. Mercy covers all the costs associated with the screening, she said.
For more information, call the lactation department at 764-3144.