Filling a Special Need
Donated breast milk is a precious resource that can help premature infants grow and thrive. The Mother’s Milk Depot is the first milk depot in Lincoln to collect breast milk from mothers who wish to donate to help premature babies in need. It is part of our continued commitment to providing women and babies with comprehensive medical resources.
What is the Milk Depot?
The Mother’s Milk Depot at St. Elizabeth is a collection site for mothers interested in donating breast milk through the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA). HMBANA is a nonprofit organization that promotes and supports safe, ethical, and cost-effective methods of collecting and processing donor milk.
Why donate milk?
When a mother’s own milk is not available, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that premature infants receive pasteurized milk from human donors. Donor breast milk helps preterm or medically fragile babies build strong immune systems and is easier on their digestive systems.
Is there a need?
In the United States, there is a shortage of human donor breast milk. At St. Elizabeth, we have been utilizing donor breast milk in our NICU for nearly six years—at several points during that time, national shortages have resulted in shortages in our own facility as well. As more NICUs across the country begin to use donor breast milk, milk banks will be unable to meet the increased demand. That’s why St. Elizabeth created The Mother’s Milk Depot in partnership with the Mother’s Milk Bank of Iowa—to ensure that NICU babies always have a sufficient supply of milk to grow strong and healthy.
Is donor breast milk safe?
Absolutely. All donors go through a testing and screening process to ensure that they are healthy. Once donors bring in milk, it is kept frozen until it is delivered to the Mother’s Milk Bank of Iowa for processing. The donor milk is pasteurized and tested to ensure that it is nutritionally sound and safe for babies. Frozen donor milk is then transported from the milk bank to hospitals and given to babies in need.
How do I become a milk donor?
The first step is to call the Mother’s Milk Bank of Iowa at (877) 891-5347 to learn more about donor criteria and to begin the screening process. The screening includes a phone interview, a health history questionnaire, and a blood test (completed at no charge to the donor) at the St. Elizabeth Outpatient Lab. Once you have been approved as a donor, a convenient time will be arranged for milk drop-off. If you have any questions, you may call the Mother’s Milk Depot at St. Elizabeth at (402) 219-7061.