Local hospital offers “human milk depot”

Your Health

"I have an over production of milk and so I donate the excess milk that I produce to the Oklahoma Mother's Milk Bank"

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — Washington Regional Medical Center is offering a service that allows women who are breastfeeding to donate their extra milk.

According to the hospital’s website, “Washington Regional is the first human milk depot in Northwest Arkansas. Nursing women who are pre-approved by Oklahoma Mothers’ Milk Bank can donate their extra breast milk at Washington Regional, where the milk will be stored until it is picked up by the milk bank.”

“We’ve had two donors drop off milk so far and we are expecting several more,” Washington Regional Clinical Nutrition Manager Erin Moore said.

The Oklahoma Mothers’ Milk Bank will then test, pasteurize and store the milk before dispensing to an ordering hospital or patient with physician’s prescription, the website states.

Washington Regional’s Infant Nutrition Lab sent its first boxes of breast milk on September 5 to babies in need from mothers like Moore.

“I just personally chose this way because I work with infants in the NICU and they are critical risk and they need the nutrition,” she said. “Its such a great way to give back to the preemies and our community.”

Donating through a hospital is not the only route to go, though.

Lori Tucker is a mother of three and like Moore, also has an over production of milk. She does peer-to-peer donations and gives milk to two mothers.

“It takes a lot of energy and a lot of time and it would be a real shame to waste especially when there are babies that could really use that and families that could really benefit from sharing breast milk,” she said.

Even though Tucker doesn’t donate to Washington Regional she said she is happy to know mothers have the option.

“It’s great to know families have that added sense of security of knowing that their breast milk has been screened and pasteurized and is 100% safe for their babies,” she said.

No matter how you decide to give or use donated breast milk, both Tucker and Moore said at the end of the day it’s all about the babies you help.

“If you’re working hard to find donated breast milk for your baby that is really hard work and you’re doing a fantastic job,” Moore said. “We’re all trying to do the best that we can.”

“It’s like medicine to them and nutrition is so important,” Moore said. “Donor breast milk is something they can receive during that critical period to provide the nutrients they need for growth and brain development.”

Tucker said when it comes to getting breast milk through peer donations, don’t be afraid to ask your potential donor the hard questions — like their medical history and what medications they are taking.

“That is not offensive at all,” she said. “You need to do what you can to take care of your baby.”

Moore said getting pre-approved to give breast milk at Washington regional is an easy and quick process, and can all be done by clicking here.  

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