OhioHealth Mothers’ Milk Bank Seeking New Milk Donors
The OhioHealth Mothers’ Milk Bank is asking healthy, lactating mothers to consider donating their human milk to help babies in need.
The OhioHealth Mothers’ Milk Bank, under the guidelines of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), provides pasteurized human milk to those infants whose mothers are unable to provide milk to nourish their babies. It is one of just 31 milk banks in North America – 28 in the United States and three in Canada.
The milk bank, which is located in the OhioHealth Eastside Health Center, relies on donations from healthy, lactating women who generously provide milk to help other babies.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen a decrease in human milk donations,” said Chris Smith, RN, IBCLC, outreach coordinator and lactation consultant for the milk bank. “In December 2020, we had over 100,000 ounces of unpasteurized milk on-site from donors. In September 2021, we had just under 40,000 ounces. We are grateful for our past and current donors and are seeking the kindness and support of additional donors at this time.”
The milk bank pasteurizes the donated milk and then distributes an average of nearly 34,000 ounces each month to hospitals throughout North America. Just one ounce of human milk can feed a premature infant for three days.
Becoming a Donor
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. Interested donors are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 614-566-0630 to arrange a screening phone interview.
Scan the QR code to learn more about the OhioHealth Mothers’ Milk Bank.
Benefits of Breast Milk
Infants benefit greatly from human milk, especially those who are premature, ill, or have life-threatening conditions. Human milk is the ultimate source of nutrients and immune protection for infants. Babies benefit from the active growth hormones, developmental enzymes, infection fighting and immunological factors found in human milk.
Research shows that human milk helps pre-term infants:
- Reach full feeds sooner and need fewer IVs
- Mature their intestines faster
- Spend fewer days in the hospital
- Reduce risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (a potentially fatal bowel infection)
- Reduce risk of sepsis (blood infection) and fewer infections
- Experience long-term IQ advantages over formula-fed infants
- Be healthier as older children and adults
Based in Columbus, Ohio, OhioHealth is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit, charitable, healthcare outreach of the United Methodist Church.
Serving its communities since 1891, it is a family of 35,000 associates, physicians and volunteers, and a network of 12 hospitals, 200+ ambulatory sites, hospice, home-health, medical equipment and other health services spanning a 47-county area. It has been recognized by FORTUNE as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” 14 times since 2007.
OhioHealth hospitals include OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, OhioHealth Doctors Hospital, OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital, OhioHealth Dublin Methodist Hospital, OhioHealth Hardin Memorial Hospital, OhioHealth Marion General Hospital, OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital, OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital, OhioHealth Shelby Hospital, OhioHealth Grove City Methodist Hospital and OhioHealth Berger Hospital. For more information, please visit our website at www.ohiohealth.com.