With the holiday season fast approaching, nursing mothers can now consider providing the gift of life in the form of breast milk. Many Tennessee hospitals are using human donor milk from other states, but now Tennessee has local milk depots accepting donor milk from local residents.
It’s now more convenient for Mid-South nursing mothers to donate their excess breast milk. A new milk depot at Regional One Health in Memphis, opened last May, joins Nashville as the only other milk depot open in Tennessee. More depots are being planned to open in the future.
Research has shown that “breast is best” when it comes to feeding newborns, but what about babies who cannot directly nurse from the breast? They still need breast milk. Especially those born very preterm (before 32 weeks gestation), whose mothers are mostly pump dependent. To these babies, human milk is often vital to their survival. In fact, extremely low birth weight babies have a higher survival rate when receiving human milk than those who only receive formula. Research also indicates that babies who receive donor milk may come home sooner, are less likely to experience NEC (necrotitis enterocolitis, a serious intestinal disease
among preemies), are less likely to develop obesity, and also experience other benefits.
With those kinds of benefits, providing breast milk to babies is essential and now more accessible to Memphis-area babies. The time it takes for nursing mothers to provide this service and gift may take more commitment but will provide a truly rewarding experience by helping newborns.
For more information on donating your breast milk, please visit www.milkbanktn.org
Freelance writer Victoria Roselli is an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant/Lamaze Instructor and Certified Newborn Care Specialist.