NEW YORK – Coming soon, New York’s first milk bank to process breast milk for babies born prematurely or with health conditions.
Hospitals currently get pasteurized donor milk from outside the state, but The New York Milk Bank, which expects to launch in early 2016, has opened five new drop-off sites in addition to the only other two depots in New York where mothers can donate milk.
Executive Director Julie Bouchet-Horwitz says there’s a growing need for donated breast milk in the state.
“We need more milk in New York to provide for premature infants in the NICU,” she states. “The research is showing that babies who are born early – and we’re saving them earlier and earlier – do far better if they have human milk.”
Mothers who give birth prematurely often haven’t produced enough milk to breast feed. Experts say the more time a premature or ill baby spends away from its mother getting medical care, the less time he or she is able to bond, which is an essential part of infant development.
The ability to use donated breast milk can help increase that important bonding time.
Dr. Dina Lieser, co-director of the children’s health advocacy group Docs for Tots, says it’s part of a package of factors that contribute to positive short and long term outcomes for infants, including the time spent bonding with parents.
“Premature babies are some of our highest risk children,” Lieser states. “The most important thing is a nurturing interaction between caregiver, parent and child.
“That cannot be stressed enough, and breast milk is a very helpful thing to many helpful aspects of health and development for a child. ”
The Milk Bank of New York hopes to open a donor depot in every county over the next several months.
PHOTO: The first donor breast milk bank is set to open in New York in early 2016. Credit: Adam Davis/freeimages.com
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