Giving Back! First donor milk depot in Georgia opens in Cumming

Giving Back! First donor milk depot in Georgia opens in Cumming

First donor milk depot in Georgia opens in Cumming

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CUMMING, Ga. — Lactating mothers looking to give back to premature will soon have a chance to do just that in Cumming.

The Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas and the North Georgia Breastfeeding Center have established a new human milk depot within NGBC, located at 107 Colony Park Drive #700 in Cumming.

A human milk depot provides the opportunity for mothers to conveniently donate their extra breast milk to needy babies, according to Mary Ashley Ray, program assistant for MMBNT.

Depots are opened within already established locations, including lactation centers, Women, Infants and Children clinics, and hospitals.

MMBNT is a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2004 to provide premature and critically ill infants with pasteurized donor human milk when their own mothers’ milk is not available. In 11 years, MMBNT has dispensed over 2.5 million ounces of breast milk to over 110 hospitals from over 5,500 donors. In 2015, MMBNT dispensed a record 552,761 ounces and approved 778 donors.

Now, NGBC just became the first depot, or milk donation collection site, in the state of Georgia.

“Local mothers can use these depots to drop off their frozen milk somewhere close to home, where they can ensure the milk is properly stored and sent to Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas,” she said. “This creates a network of donors that extends beyond geographic borders.”

Donors are screened through medical histories and blood tests. Once approved, moms freeze the extra milk their babies don’t need and take it to a depot close to home.

Frozen milk arrives at the milk bank and is logged into a sophisticated bar code and tracking system. It is then thawed, analyzed, packaged in tamper-resistant bottles, pasteurized and tested for bacteria.

The NGBC, which specializes in lactation services and breast-feeding support, inquired about becoming a depot, Ray said.

“They wanted to make donating breast milk convenient for moms in Cumming and surrounding areas who want to help sick babies with their extra breast milk,” Ray said. “Breast milk is described by moms as ‘liquid gold,’ and most moms don’t want to throw it away, especially when they know it can help another baby.”

Milk donors are generous mothers who donate surplus milk and do not receive any form of compensation from MMBNT, Ray said. They are screened through a phone interview and questionnaire that covers their medical histories. They also have their blood drawn, which is paid for by MMBNT and tests for a variety of communicable diseases including HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis, among others.

Then donor milk is dispensed through physician prescription, she said. Eighty percent of the milk goes to critically ill infants in neonatal intensive care units in more than 110 hospitals. The remaining 20 percent is delivered by prescription to patients who are at home but still have severe feeding problems or other conditions that make human milk the best option for them.

One in eight babies is born prematurely, which puts them at risk for life-threatening infections, Ray said.

“Preemies fed human milk, as opposed to formula, are substantially protected from these devastating diseases and have significantly improved rates of survival, growth and development,” Ray said.

Mothers can drop off breast milk donations at NGBC, which staff members will collect and send to MMBNT for pasteurization and shipment to critically ill infants. Donations are accepted Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., or by appointment by calling 678-965-0103.

For information, visit texasmilkbank.org.

By |2017-11-30T17:05:42+00:00April 12th, 2016|

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