Breast milk packs a powerful punch – it aids in infant digestion, provides vital nutrients and hormones, and even helps babies fight infection. Despite the abundance of health benefits that breast-feeding offers both moms and babies, it’s an unfortunate truth that some mothers and children cannot successfully breastfeed. Milk depots have grown popular world-wide because they create a safe and efficient way for lactating women to donate their excess milk to babies who would not otherwise have access to nutrient-rich breast milk.
Today, Middle Tennessee parents and NICU babies will gain a valuable resource with the launch of a “milk depot” at Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital. The new milk bank at Saint Thomas Rutherford has been funded in part by the generosity of the Saint Thomas Rutherford Foundation. All milk donors will be screened for a variety of communicable diseases, including: AIDS, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and Syphilis.
Until Saint Thomas Rutherford achieves its ultimate goal of building an on-site milk bank, milk collected at the new Murfreesboro depot will be sent frozen to Texas for expert processing at Mothers’ Milk Bank Austin. Since its inception in 1999, the Austin milk bank has distributed more than 5 million ounces of pasteurized milk to babies in need across the United States. Before dispensation, all milk is rigorously tested to ensure the absence of bacteria. Mothers’ Milk Bank strives to return all processed milk to the community from which it originated—this is truly an opportunity for Middle Tennessee and Murfreesboro to support its own.
Saint Thomas Rutherford NICU Director Dr. Asra Tanveer commented, “Having a milk depot at the hospital brings us one step closer to having a donor milk bank in Middle Tennessee. The milk depot will provide so many benefits to premature and sick babies in our NICU.”
Women who are interested in donating milk at the new Saint Thomas Rutherford Milk Depot can learn more by calling 615-396-4465 or 615-617-1800. Nurse manager Elishia Gifford can guide interested moms through the donor registration and screening process.