Salina Regional Health Center is opening a Breast Milk Depot to collect human milk that will help nurture premature or critically ill babies. SRHC is the first hospital in the state of Kansas to partner with Oklahoma Mothers’ Milk Bank who collects and distributes breast milk in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas.
According to the hospital, mothers who have filled out the paper work and have been approved can drop off their frozen milk at the new Breast Milk Depot located inside the main lobby of the hospital starting on Thursday.
Breastfeeding and human milk are the preferred standard for infant feeding and nutrition, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Lori Faerber, director of the Women and Infants Service, has worked in the healthcare field for more than 35 years, is a mother to five children and has personally used donated human milk on her fifth child who was adopted at 10-months old. “It is an exciting time to see the progress that has been made to provide this service to families that choose to breastfeed,” says Faerber. “SRHC will have an option for local women to donate breast milk with future hopes the hospital will also become a distribution site for local families who need breast milk.”
Tina Hill, SRHC organizational development education coordinator, and certified breastfeeding specialist – a mother of two, soon to be three, thought of the idea of having a Breast Milk Depot while in a zoom lunch and learn meeting with Oklahoma Mothers’ Milk Bank. “I have been passionate about supporting moms and their breastfeeding efforts ever since I started working in the Birth Center,” says Hill. “I hope we can get enough milk in the near future to not only provide for our Newborn Intensive Care Unit, NICU, but to help other hospitals who have sick infants that would benefit from having human milk.”
It is recommended that donors save a two-week supply for their baby before donating their extra milk. Some mothers who lost their newborn during pregnancy, but are still able to pump, find that donating their milk is a special way to honor their baby after loss.
The SRHC Breast Milk Depot has a freezer that that will keep the milk frozen at a constant temperature below freezing. Every two months, or sooner if needed, the frozen milk will be picked up by the Oklahoma Mothers’ Milk Bank and will be pasteurized using the Holder Method, which is a process of heating milk to 62.5° C for 30 minutes in a shaking water bath. The processed milk is then rapidly cooled, frozen, and stored at or below -20°. The pasteurization process guidelines are set forth by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. After the pasteurization process, the milk is bottled and kept frozen with dry ice in an insulated box that is shipped to hospitals with tamper evident tape.
Mothers interested in donating can fill out a form by visiting www.okmilkbank.org and click on donate milk tab. All donors are tested for HIV, HTLV, syphilis, hepatitis B and hepatitis C before donating milk. Once approved, donors will receive pumping supplies and can set up a drop-off appointment by calling (785) 452-7474. All milk bags must be labeled with the donor number and cannot be frozen for longer than six months.
For questions regarding the SRHC Breast Milk Depot call (785) 452-7474.