OhioHealth Mothers' Milk Bank Opens Westerville Milk Drop
There are times when a breastfeeding mother is producing more milk than her baby needs. Or maybe a mother has lost her baby, but is still producing milk and wants it to go to another baby in honor of her own. And, there are babies who need human milk, but their mothers aren’t able to provide it.
That’s where the OhioHealth Mothers’ Milk Bank comes in. Last year, it dispensed nearly 350,000 ounces of pasteurized milk to 75 hospitals in 14 states and Canada.
“Just one ounce of human milk will feed three premature babies for one day,” said Chris Smith, RN, outreach coordinator and lactation consultant at the milk bank. “Human milk is like medicine for preemies. It reduces the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis, which can be a potentially fatal intestinal infection. Donor milk to a preemie is lifesaving, like a blood transfusion to a trauma patient."
90 percent of the milk goes to hospitals, while 10 percent goes to babies at home with chronic medical conditions.
Milk Drop in Central Ohio
The OhioHealth Mothers’ Milk Bank is located at the OhioHealth Eastside Health Center. But now, donating milk for mothers in north central Ohio is even easier as a new milk drop location has opened at the OhioHealth Westerville Medical Campus. Once a mom has gone through the screening process, she’ll be able to drop off her milk in the laboratory, located on the second floor above the emergency department. There, the milk will be stored and then transported to the milk bank. Then it will be analyzed for nutritional components, pasteurized and distributed to babies in North America who need it.
“We are thrilled to be opening this new milk drop to make donating even easier,” said Chris Smith. “With this new milk drop, approved donors in Westerville and the surrounding communities can donate without having to drive across town to the milk bank. It makes donating much more convenient.”
Dublin resident Molly Gardner was the first mom to donate milk at the Westerville milk drop location when it opened on Aug. 23. Molly estimates she has donated 2,500 ounces of milk to the milk bank over five visits. She brought her 17-month-old son, William, along with her, who helped deliver the milk he no longer needs. William can be seen in the video above donating the milk!
While this is the first central Ohio milk drop, Smith hopes to open more locations around central Ohio. Milk drops are also located in Crawford County, Sidney-Shelby County, Cincinnati, Dayton, Marietta and Athens.
The milk bank relies on donations from healthy, lactating women who generously provide milk to help other babies. Interested donors are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (614) 566.0630. To become a human milk donor, mothers must take part in a screening process to ensure the quality and safety of the milk. This process includes a phone screening to verify eligibility, completion of a medical and lifestyle history review, a signed medical release from the donor and physician and consent to receive a blood test to screen for HIV, HTLV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and syphilis. The donated milk is pasteurized, frozen and distributed by physician prescription.
More information about the OhioHealth Mothers’ Milk Bank, including a video, may be found at https://www.ohiohealth.com/locations/womens-health/mothers-milk-bank/