|Nov. 20, 2012
The Via Christi Breastfeeding Clinic was created to help new mothers succeed at breastfeeding. Now the Via Christi Lactation Department, in cooperation with the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, has developed a new service helping women with excess breast milk, by creating a Milk Bank Depot to help facilitate milk donations to the Mothers’ Milk Bank.
“We wanted to create the milk bank depot to provide an avenue for mothers who have a surplus of milk, such as some of the mothers with babies in our neonatal intensive care unit,” said Megan Bayer, RN, certified lactation consultant.
The clinic, which is in the NewLife Center at Via Christi Hospital on Harry, has seen several mothers in the past who were able to donate significant amounts of milk to milk banks throughout the country and saw the need for this service in the Wichita and south-central Kansas areas. Milk donated in Wichita is sent to the Mother’s Milk Bank at the Rocky Mountain Children’s Hospital in Denver for processing and distribution.
A donor milk bank is a service that collects, screens, processes and distributes donated human milk. Donor milk bank depots accept milk from lactating mothers who have undergone careful screening, similar to the way blood banks screen donors. The milk is donated to a central milk bank for processing, then is made available for purchase by hospitals and individuals for feeding sick and fragile infants.
Here in Wichita, the process involves being pre-screened by the Mother’s Milk Bank in Denver, which requires a health information survey as well as a blood screening. Once the mother has been approved, the Via Christi Milk Bank Depot will collect the blood sample and accept her milk donation. The milk bank requires an initial donation of 100 ounces, after that, any amount may be donated. Via Christi’s Lactation department will handle the storage, packaging and shipping of the milk to Denver.
The Via Christi Milk Bank Depot is the only one of its kind in the state outside of Kansas City.
Women interested in donating to the milk bank depot can contact the Via Christi Lactation Department at 316-689-5426 or Mothers’ Milk Bank in Denver at 877-458-5503.