Mothers Donate Breast Milk to Save Lives

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KANSAS CITY - Mothers across the state donate the gift of life to some pre-term infants.  St. Luke's Hospital recently became a milk bank.   This means local mothers can donate their breast milk at the hospital.  Once the milk is donated the hospital tests the milk and pasteurizes it.  

Donating mothers have to get the milk and their blood screened before they are an approved donor.  This requires potential donors to bring in 100-150 ounces of milk to the hospital for an initial donation.  Mothers are allowed to donate from the time their child is born until they are one year old.

Although the hospital became a milk bank this month, but has been collecting milk for a few years.  In the past the hospital collected the milk but sent it all to Denver to be processed and distributed.

There are currently 13 milk banks throughout the country.  These hospitals are all a part of The Human Milk Bank Association of North America. 

So far St. Luke's has almost 8,000 ounces of milk in their freezer and expect that amount to grow as more people become familiarized with the program.

The hospital provides the breast milk to babies in need in neonatal intensive care units, also known as the NICU.  One pediatric dietitian says the breast milk is essential for these babies that are born early because it has special nutrients babies can't get anywhere else.

One mother, Nicole Powers, said a breast milk donation helped her newborn grow. Last week, Dwyatt Powers was born early and had problems with his lungs, but she said he had a great recovery and would be released from the NICU within the week.

Anyone interested in donating their breast milk can go to the milk bank's website or facebook page for more information.