Wednesday, June 20 , 2018, 3:25 am | Fair 57º


Nursing Mothers Urged to Donate Breast Milk for Preemies in Need

Breast milk donor Jessica Barton and her son.
Breast milk donor Jessica Barton and her son. (Cottage Health photo)

When a baby is born premature, his or her mother sometimes cannot produce enough milk. Breast milk is vital in providing protection for fragile, premature infants.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, there will be a breast milk donor drive for nursing moms to donate breast milk for babies who are patients in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Cottage Children’s Medical Center.

For the past three years, Cottage has been working with the Mother’s Milk Bank (MMB) of San Jose to help supply donated breast milk. Mother’s Milk Bank is one of only four breast milk banks in the nation and the only one on the West Coast.

Lately, Mother’s Milk Bank has been experiencing a shortage of available milk. Donor milk is vital for premature babies who are born at an extremely low weight of less than 1,800 grams. In these cases, the mothers are not able to produce enough milk for their babies.

These premature infants are at high risk for getting an infection, called necrotizing enterocolitis, which can destroy the colon and bowel and potentially lead to death.

In 2014, the Cottage NICU had 11 infants who needed to rely on donor milk. Very low weight premature babies usually will require donor milk from a period ranging from about two weeks to three months.

The donor milk drive will be held in the Women’s Services Conference Room at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Please enter the hospital at 400 W. Pueblo St.. Nursing moms can learn about breast milk donation, get screened to be a donor, and also donate properly stored milk.

Click here for more information about Cottage Children’s Medical Center, or call 805.569.8250.

— Maria Zate is communications director at Cottage Health.


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