For women who are either in need of or looking to donate breast milk, new breast milk depots recently opened in the Philadelphia area allow for safe, convenient donations and pick-ups.
The depots were opened by the Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank (MAMMB) at three locations: Lifecycle WomanCare in Bryn Mawr and the Breastfeeding Resource Center locations in Abington and Wayne.
The Milk Bank works to provide breast milk to hospitalized infants in need, specifically infants born prematurely – which make up about 11 percent of the 140,000 babies born in Pennsylvania and West Virginia annually. Natural breastmilk has been shown to produce organic benefits that can't be equaled with formula.
"Babies receiving donated breast milk in the NICU [neonatal intensive care unit] for necessary supplementation have lower rates of serious complications and tend to leave the hospital earlier than those being fed formula," MAMMB said in a press release announcing the opening of the new breast milk depots.
The depots are intended for local women, "who have excess milk beyond their own baby’s needs" MAMMB said, to drop off donations that can help out other babies. All donor moms are volunteers and must undergo screening, while donated milk will be bottled, pasteurized and tested before being provided to sick infants.
“These new milk depots will make donating more accessible for local moms," MAMMB executive director Denise O’Connor said in a statement. "There are some moms in the area already donating, and we hope the milk depots will encourage even more. The presence of a milk bank or milk depots in a region is also associated with an increase in breastfeeding rates which is our ultimate goal – more babies having the benefits of their own mother’s milk.”
Breast milk depots accepting donations
MAMMB opened in Pittsburgh in 2016 and said it has received donations from nearly 1,000 women, dozens of whom reportedly came from the Philadelphia area. They say they've so far donated 290,000 ounces to 23 different hospitals and numerous clinics throughout Pennsylvania and West Virginia, the area they currently serve.
"The Breastfeeding Resource Center works with mothers in the hospital and in our outpatient settings. Our IBCLCs [International Board Certified Lactation Consultants] see the strong need for donor milk in our NICUs,” Breastfeeding Resource Center executive director said in a statement. "Our dream is that we can one day have it available to full-term babies also."