Information for Parents
St. Mary-Corwin, along with hospitals all over the country, support the highest standard of care in infant feeding; your milk, for your baby. Sometimes a supplement is needed - perhaps once, perhaps longer. At The BirthPlace you have access to banked donor human milk from the Mothers' Milk Bank when your milk is unavailable. We hope the following information will answer any questions you may have about this essential nutrition and therapy.
Why Banked Human Milk?
Your milk is the very best food for your baby. Human milk, both yours and banked milk, contains numerous essential health factors not found in any manufactured formula product. It contains the perfect components for the development of your baby's brain and nervous system. There are antibodies to fight infection, and specific growth hormones for your baby's organs, bones, muscles and other tissues. It has properties that have been shown to have positive health effects even years later in life. Human milk also protects against allergies and many illnesses. Banked human milk is safe and healthy.
Availability of Milk
The goal of the Mothers' Milk Bank is to provide milk for every baby who needs it. Banked milk is always available in The BirthPlace. Full-term, or "mature" milk, is the standard infant feeding for all babies receiving banked human milk. If your baby is full term, he or she will receive milk from donors whose own babies are full term. Milk from mothers of preterm infants ("preterm milk") has different levels of some nutrients for the first month after delivery. Supplies of preterm milk are very limited. However, if you have a preterm infant who needs banked milk, we will provide your baby with preterm milk whenever it is available.
Milk Bank Donors
Milk Bank donors are healthy, conscientious people who care about others, particularly babies. They are nursing their own babies, have an abundant milk supply, and donate their surplus milk to the Milk Bank. All donors receive detailed instructions on hygienic collection, handling, and storage of their milk. Milk donors are screened even more carefully than blood donors. They each undergo a detailed medical and lactation history screening by Milk Bank personnel to ensure they meet the donor requirements established by the MMB Advisory Council and the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA). They must be non-smokers, take no medications, and she and her family must be well during the entire time she donates. Donor requirements restrict alcohol use and limit caffeine consumption. All milk donors have the same blood tests done that are done for blood donors: HIV I/II, HTLV I and II, syphilis, and Hepatitis B and C. Written authorization to be a donor is obtained from both the mother's and baby's health care providers.
Safety & Quality of Banked Human Milk
The highest level of safety practices are used in human milk banking. All banked human milk has been screened and processed in accordance with the most current international milk banking standards, and recommendations by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control.
All banked milk your baby receives has been pasteurized (gently heated) in order to eliminate any bacteria or other organisms that may have been present in the milk. High levels of nutrients are maintained during this process, such as the essential fats necessary for optimal brain growth. Other vital components are certain growth factors for muscle, bone and tissue development. High levels of immune elements are also preserved, which help protect your baby from illness. Protein, carbohydrates, and most other components remain unchanged. None of these healthy, specialized components are found in any manufactured formula products. Banked human milk is gentle on your baby's digestive system, and the nutrients are readily digested and absorbed.
If you have any questions about the Mothers' Milk Bank or banked human milk, contact us.
- Phone: 303-869-1888
- Toll-free: 877-458-5503
- Pager: 303-281-1132
- Monday - Friday: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm