A mother’s milk contains essential nutrients and disease-fighting antibodies that each newborn requires for optimal growth and development. It is an especially important source of nourishment and provides an additional level of immune protection for babies born prematurely. These babies face a higher risk of digestive disorders and infections when compared to term infants.
For a variety of reasons, a mother may not be able to provide milk for her infant. In those situations, pasteurized donor human milk (PDHM) has been recognized by the American Academy of Pediatrics as the next best feeding option, especially for preterm infants. After vetting, milk banks collect donated milk from lactating women, process the milk using Holder pasteurization, and then dispense PDHM to critically ill inpatient infants and occasionally to outpatient babies as well.
Beginning in 2015, while being mentored by Mothers’ Milk Bank in Austin, Texas, Ochsner Baptist opened Louisiana’s first “human milk depot,” collecting donated milk from approved donors. With the tremendous philanthropic support provided by local and national organizations as well as Ochsner medical staff and employees, the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Louisiana at Ochsner Baptist was accredited by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) in March 2018. It is now capable of receiving, processing and dispensing PDHM across the state of Louisiana.
Women who are interested in donating milk undergo an interview and a blood screening. Those who are approved can then drop off their frozen milk at Ochsner Baptist or one of our expanding network depots across the state.
Louisiana has the second-highest rate of premature births in our nation. Readily available human milk can help the littlest Louisianans grow and thrive with fewer complications. “The Mothers’ Milk Bank of Louisiana was but a dream that with the help of many has become a reality,” says Dr. Harley Ginsberg, Section Head of Neonatology and Medical Director of both the Milk Bank and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. “If we wish to impact and decrease infant mortality in our state, the ability to provide human milk for all babies is crucial.” Ochsner Baptist is proud to offer this life-saving resource.