The demand for donor human milk (breast milk) in hospital neonatal intensive care units (NICU) continues to rise, and a new milk bank depot in Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center is giving lactating mothers a new drop-off location for their donations of the much-needed resource.
Serviced by the Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin – one of the largest suppliers of donated breast milk to hospitals across Texas and in 22 states – the milk bank depot is now accepting donations.
“The best ‘first’ food for a newborn is breast milk, and it’s especially important for our preemie patients,” said Kevin Hart, MHA, BSN, RNC-NIC, clinical manager of the NICU and Pediatrics units at Memorial Hermann Memorial City. “We’ve worked with the Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin for a number of years to secure breast milk for our most vulnerable patients. Now, we’re taking the relationship a step further by becoming a collection site for the organization.”
Located in the hospital’s newly-opened Honeysuckle Boutique, the milk bank depot enables lactating women who produce more milk than their child needs to donate the excess to premature babies. Following a screening process, the lactating mother simply drops off her milk at the hospital, where it is frozen and stored for a short time until it is collected by the Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin. Under their care, the milk is pasteurized and processed to meet the specific needs of fragile and sick babies.
“The Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin is pleased to partner with Memorial Hermann Memorial City to raise awareness about the importance of breast milk, and the opportunity for breastfeeding women to donate their lifesaving milk to fragile infants in need,” said Kim Updegrove, Executive Director of the Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin. “As the demand for providing safe, nutritionally-analyzed, and labeled donor human milk to hospitals and outpatients continues to increase, our newest depot site will allow us to extend our reach into the community with the goal to recruit more breastfeeding women who are uniquely qualified to help save the lives of premature and critically ill babies.”
Breastfeeding women who are interested in donating their breast milk for the benefit of premature, ill and medically-fragile infants may call toll-free 1-877-813-6455 to begin the screening process.
The Honeysuckle Boutique at Memorial Hermann Memorial City is located on the second floor of the Memorial Hermann Tower at 929 Gessner. Donations are accepted on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 8:30 and 11 a.m., and the first Saturday of the month between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Donors can access free parking in Garage 5 at the corner of Frostwood and I-10. For more information, call the boutique at 713-242-4HER (4437).