July 31, 2018
As World Breastfeeding Week begins Wednesday, a local initiative to make breast milk available to more babies is getting ready to launch.
Next Tuesday, the Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank will open three milk depots in the Philadelphia area – at Lifecycle WomanCare in Bryn Mawr, and the Abington and Wayne locations of the Breastfeeding Resource Center. A brief ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Abington center (1355 Old York Road) will welcome local mothers and their babies to learn more about donating their breast milk for babies in need across Philadelphia and beyond.
“These new milk depots will make donating more accessible for local moms,” said Denise O’Connor, executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank, in a statement. “With our work in Philadelphia and across the mid-Atlantic region expanding, we are in need of more donors. There are some moms in the area already donating, and we hope the milk depots will encourage even more. The presence of a milk bank or milk depots in a region is also associated with an increase in breastfeeding rates which is our ultimate goal - more babies having the benefits of their own mother’s milk.”
All moms will still need to go through our screening process, O'Connor said. But once approved, they can drop off their milk at any of the locations or ship milk.
Donor milk is provided by carefully screened volunteer donor moms. Healthy lactating moms who have excess milk beyond their own baby’s needs are encouraged to donate. Donated milk is bottled, pasteurized, and tested to ensure safety for the hospitalized babies that receive donor milk.
Nearly 1,000 women have donated to the milk bank since opening its doors in Pittsburgh in January 2016, including dozens from the Philadelphia area, according to the Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank, which has distributed more than 290,000 ounces of milk to 23 hospitals and numerous outpatients across Pennsylvania and West Virginia, including the neonatal intensive care units of Doylestown Hospital, St. Christopher’s Children’s Hospital and Hahnemann University Hospital.
"The Breastfeeding Resource Center works with mothers in the hospital and in our outpatient settings. Our IBCLCs see the strong need for donor milk in our NICUs," said Colette M. Acker, executive director of the Breastfeeding Resource Center, in a statement. "Our dream is that we can one day have it available to full-term babies also.”
Acker said the outpatient centers give BRC a large reach into the communities. She said her organization is hoping that partnering with the Mid-Atlantic Milk Bank will increase milk donation in the Greater Philadelphia area.