In the United States, 1 in every 8 babies is born prematurely each year. Because these babies are born too early, they are behind in their growth and development, causing numerous issues and ailments that put their survivability at risk. When mothers have experienced a premature labor, they are often unable to produce milk for a variety of reasons. These mothers know that breastmilk is the best source of nutrition and immunity their baby can receive, but they feel at a loss for not being able to provide their own milk for them. That’s when a non-profit milk bank steps in!
Non-profit HMBANA milk banks like the Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas screen donors, process and test milk, and then dispense the milk to primarily hospitalized preemies. We test the milk and gently pasteurize it to preserve immunological properties but destroy harmful bacteria that can be caused by improper storage or breast infections that donors are unaware they have. Donated milk is tested at various stages for these bacteria and for nutritional components.
Each year, the demand for donor human milk (DHM) increases significantly. More and more hospitals are providing their preemies with DHM from non-profit milk banks instead of formula. Because of this, the demand for donors is also continually growing nationwide. Mothers with spare milk have the option to share it with the babies who will benefit the most, and that is through donating to a HMBANA affiliated milk bank. These milk banks do not financially profit from or commercialize human milk and the milk they provide is often life-saving for low birth weight and premature infants recovering from serious complications and surgeries.
The increased demand from neonatal intensive care units for the growing number of premature infants will only be met by more mothers choosing to donate their milk to milk banks. The provision of safe, screened and tested human milk by milk banks has also been shown to promote and support breastfeeding, enabling more premature babies to be discharged and able to fully breastfeed.