ROCKPORT — Pen Bay Medical Center (PBMC) and Waldo County General Hospital (WCGH) announce the grand opening of milk depots, in partnership with Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast.
The opening events will take place at:
Pen Bay Medical Center
Date: Tuesday, May 28
Time: Noon – 1 p.m.
Location: Pen Bay Medical Center, Conference Room A – immediately adjacent to the Bay View Café.
Waldo County General Hospital
Date: Wednesday, May 29
Time: Noon – 1 p.m.
Location: Waldo County General Hospital, Classroom, 118 Northport Avenue, ground floor
Families, prospective milk donors, healthcare providers, and community members are welcome to attend the family-friendly celebration, which will include a ribbon-cutting, refreshments, and information on how nursing mothers can donate milk.
A milk depot is a community location where screened milk donors can drop off milk for shipment to a milk bank. The milk bank collects milk from mothers who have more milk than their babies need; screens, pasteurizes, and tests the milk; then dispenses it primarily to premature and sick babies whose mothers do not have enough milk for them.
Mothers from Knox and Waldo Counties will now be able to drop off their milk conveniently at the depot for shipment to the milk bank.
With the opening of this location, Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast will now have 24 depots in eight states throughout the Northeast, including four in Maine.
“The presence of a milk depot signifies a deep commitment to the health and well-being of the most vulnerable members of the community — the fragile babies whose lives depend on safe, pasteurized donor milk,” said Ann Marie Lindquist, director of Community Relations for Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast. “We are delighted to partner with Pen Bay Medical Center and Waldo County General Hospital to serve the community in this way.”
Milk donor screening, modeled after blood donor screening, includes health history, physician approval, and a blood test. These are some of the many measures taken to ensure the safety of milk for the fragile premature and sick babies served by the milk bank and the hospitals that use the milk. Milk from mothers who pass the screening is also pasteurized and tested by an independent lab to ensure safety before being dispensed to hospitals or families.
Human milk can be lifesaving for preterm infants. It is especially protective against a life-threatening condition called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), which affects one in ten of the smallest preterm infants. Human breast milk is estimated to lower the risk of this condition by 79%. It also lowers hospital costs by reducing costs for care and shortening hospital stays.
Donor milk is rapidly becoming the standard supplement to mothers’s milk for preterm infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). In addition, an increasing number of community hospitals with regular and special care nurseries use donor milk when babies need a supplement to their mothers’ own milk. Currently Maine Medical Center offers donor milk in its NICU and well-baby units, and several other Maine hospitals are expected to begin offering it soon.
Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast is a nonprofit community milk bank accredited by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA). The milk bank has been screening donors, pasteurizing milk, and dispensing to over 90 hospitals and to families throughout the Northeastern United States since 2011.
Mothers who wish to donate milk can review guidelines on the milk bank website, www.milkbankne.org/donate, then contact a Donor Intake Coordinator for screening at 617-527-6263 x3 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Approved donors can drop off their milk at the new depot locations by scheduling an appointment with the lactation consultant at PBMC or WCGH.
They can be reached at Pen Bay Medical Center at 207-301-8343 or at Waldo County General Hospital 207-505-4140.