Shortage of donor breast milk affecting Driscoll

CORPUS CHRISTI – The Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin, which provides donated, pasteurized human breast milk to neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) throughout Texas and other states, is experiencing a shortage that is affecting the supply at Driscoll Children’s Hospital.

“The shortage is due to a lack of donors and a lack of community awareness about the Mothers’ Milk Bank,” said Driscoll Lactation Program Coordinator Laurie Beck, RN, MSN, IBCLC. “We always try to keep extra donor milk in our freezer so as to be prepared for any new admissions. The babies we have on donor milk at present do not have mothers who are able to provide their own milk.”

Beck said she has been trying to order 200 bottles of donor milk a week for Driscoll patients but has only been able to obtain 50 bottles at a time. Each bottle contains three ounces of milk.

Mother’s milk is the preferred choice of nutrition for babies and donor milk is the second, Beck said. The Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin screens all potential donors to ensure safety, pasteurizes the milk and freezes it as a sterile product. NICUs in 14 states order the milk for critically ill newborns, especially preemies.

Lactating mothers can help by donating their milk. The first step is to call the Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin at 1-877-813-6455 for a phone interview. After completing an application process, they can drop off their milk at Mom’s Place at Driscoll Children’s Hospital, 3533 S. Alameda St., between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Mom’s Place is a drop-off site for the Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin and a storehouse for breast milk that is used to feed infants at Driscoll. It is also a breastfeeding resource center for mothers with a baby in Driscoll and a private place for them to pump milk.

For more information about the milk donation process, mothers can call Beck at (361) 694-5338 or go to the Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin’s web site at www.milkbank.org.