Babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) depend on this lifesaving nourishment to thrive when their mother’s milk is not available. Donor milk is often used by premature babies and older babies who cannot tolerate formula, have weakened immune systems, or have special dietary needs.
Every drop of breast milk makes a difference in the long-term survival and outcome of a sick baby. For this reason, Capital Area Healthy Start has partnered with the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Florida to become a milk donation site in Leon County.
Your breast milk can make a positive impact and benefit a baby for a lifetime, so please consider donating your extra milk today!
Please call (850) 488-0288 to set up an appointment for dropping off milk.
The depot location for the Greater Big Bend Area is 1311 N. Paul Russell Rd. Suite A-101, Tallahassee, FL 32301.
A milk depot is a convenient location that local moms can use to drop off their excess milk. The milk depot facilitates the donation process of receiving milk, packing milk, and sending it to the main milk bank. The main milk bank is responsible for screening all donors and distributing the donor milk.
By donating your breast milk, you can help another family in need. Mothers of premature infants often struggle to produce adequate breastmilk for a variety of reasons. For these families, donor human milk is a welcomed gift during one of the most stressful times of their lives.
In fact, neonatologists are especially concerned about preventing necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a disease that attacks the intestinal tract, damaging or destroying it, and requiring surgery to repair or remove the intestines. Emergency surgery on a preterm infant is difficult and dangerous, however, human milk is known to fight infections while providing ideal nutrients, which can make a huge difference in how well these little babies do after birth.
Yes! The Mothers’ Milk Bank follows the strict screening, processing, and dispensing guidelines established by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) to ensure the safety of donor human milk. These guidelines have been established with the advisement of the Centers for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration, and the blood and tissue industries. Potential donors provide complete medical and lifestyle histories and undergo blood tests, similar to the screening process used at blood banks. Donated milk is then tested for bacteria and levels of nutrients and pasteurized to kill any bacteria or viruses. Before the pasteurized milk is dispensed, bacteriological testing is done to ensure its safety.
A mother may not be able to meet her baby’s needs:
- because of premature delivery, a mother’s milk supply may be delayed or not become established enough to provide sufficient milk for her child.
- if she is pumping for twins or triplets and cannot provide enough.
- due to the stress of having a hospitalized, ill infant whom she cannot hold or directly nurse.
- if she requires medications that may pass into breast milk and are harmful to the infant.
- if she has a chronic infection such as HIV or HTLV, or another medical condition that precludes breastfeeding.
- if she has a breast infection that temporarily affects her milk production.
Donor human milk (DHM) from a Mothers’ Milk Bank of Florida is dispensed by prescription only. The highest-priority recipients are premature and ill hospitalized infants. Common reasons for prescribing donor milk include: Preterm birth, Failure to thrive, Malabsorption syndromes, Allergies, Feeding/formula intolerance, Immunologic deficiencies, Post-operative nutrition, and Infectious diseases.
- Milk is received at the milk depot and then sent to the milk bank. Milk is stored in large freezers until ready for processing.
- Milk is pooled together into large flasks and poured into sanitized glass bottles.
- The milk is then pasteurized.
- A small sample of the milk is analyzed for nutritional content.
- A sample from each batch is sent to the lab to be tested for bacterial growth.
- Under the physician’s prescription, the milk is sent to babies in hospitals and homes.
Capital Area Healthy Start is partnered with the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Florida, a 501c(3) charitable organization that has collected and distributed over one-million ounces of breast milk to date. You can find out more information about their organization and the donating process, by visiting the Milk Band of Florida website.
Taking care of your baby is your first priority. Once you’ve established your milk supply and your own baby’s needs are met, donating your extra milk would be a wonderful life-saving gift to a sick baby.
You are likely to qualify as a donor if:
- You are in generally good health.
- You are a non-smoker.
- You are not taking medications on a regular basis.
- You are a Mothers’ Milk of Florida registered Donor.
- Milk must not be frozen longer than 8 months in a freezer that is cold enough to keep ice cream frozen.
- Call the Mother’s Milk Bank of Florida at 407-248-5050.
- Complete a short phone pre-screening.
- Fill out the comprehensive screening form.
- Have your blood drawn for testing. The cost of all the testing is covered by the milk bank.
- Sign the donor consent form. Have your doctor and your baby’s pediatrician sign the medical release forms.
- Drop off your milk at Capital Area Healthy Start Coalition’s Milk Depot.
- That is all there is to it. There is no cost to you. Your time pumping your milk for donation is greatly appreciated and a huge gift to tiny babies at risk.
You are a lifesaver – Thank you for supporting nonprofit milk banks!
Donor milk makes a huge difference in the lives of families and premature babies!