If your premature baby needs breast milk, Tennessee hospital NICUs rely on other states with established milk banks for donor human milk (DHM). But soon, that milk will be coming from mothers just like you in Tennessee. The Mothers’ Milk Bank of Tennessee (MMBTN) received not-for-profit status approval in August.
Now, MMBTN has partnered with Milk Bank of Austin, Texas to process donor milk on their behalf. Milk “depots” — where donor mothers can drop off frozen milk — will start in Memphis and Nashville and gradually spread across the state. During the development stage, depots will send donor milk to Austin. Once the Tennessee processing facility is up and running (planned for 2016 in Nashville), the depots will send collected milk to MMBTN.
Milk banks provide a valuable service to at-risk infants and their mothers.
“We know from research studies that if a milk bank exists in a community, breastfeeding rates rise, the number of mothers willing to donate increases, and the supply of human donor milk becomes more readily available,” notes Kim Updegrove, executive director of Austin Milk Bank.
Studies have shown that donor breast milk improves babies developmental outcomes while lowering more serious health risks.