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Women & Children News
Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin Opens a New Milk Depot at Forrest General Hospital
The demand for donor human milk in hospital neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) continues to rise. “We have approximately 250 babies admitted into the NICU each year. Since initiating the use of donor human milk in 2011, we have admitted approximately 570 babies and used approximately 9,500 ounces of donor milk. While many mothers do provide their own, breast milk, some mothers cannot due to lack of supply or medical reasons and therefore, rely on donor milk as the primary source for their premature infant’s nutrition,” said Dr. Clint White, Neonatologist at Forrest General. Fortunately, milk bank depots, like the new one recently opened at Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg, gives lactating mothers an even more convenient way to donate much-needed breastmilk. The new milk depot at Forrest General will be serviced by the Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin (Austin, Texas) and will serve as a convenient drop off location in Mississippi breastmilk donations. Women who are currently breastfeeding infants under one year old are eligible to be screened at no charge to become breastmilk donors.

One of the largest suppliers of donor human milk to hospitals across the country, the MMBA fills prescriptions written by health care providers for the most fragile babies who need the life-giving and sustaining nutrition of donor human milk to thrive. Although any woman can donate her breastmilk regardless of where she lives, the new milk depot located at Forrest General will make it easier for all Hattiesburg-area donors to donate this scarce resource that has life-saving impact.

“Our reputation for providing safe, nutritionally-analyzed, and labeled donor human milk to hospitals and outpatients has led to tremendous growth in demand -- a challenge and also a success,” said Kim Updegrove, executive director of the MMBA. “By partnering with Forrest General, we will raise our awareness with a vital audience – breastfeeding women who are uniquely qualified to help save the lives of premature and critically ill babies.”

“The statistical benefits for breastmilk versus formula is remarkable,” said Jennifer Massey, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner at Forrest General. “Donor breast milk decreases the risk of necrotizing entercolitis (NEC), inflammation and tissue death of all or part of the bowel that affects mostly premature infants, up to 20 times when compared with formula. Donor human milk also matures the infant’s intestines faster, allows infant’s to reach full feedings sooner, decreases the risk of sepsis and decreases the length of the hospital stay.”

Nonprofit milk banks like MMBA ensure donor human milk is safe and available to the infants who need it most. The pasteurized breast milk dispensed is specifically processed to meet the specific needs of fragile and sick babies.

Founded in 1999 by two Austin neonatologists, the Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin serves babies with the greatest medical needs, regardless of family’s ability to pay. “Because breastmilk is a precious and scarce resource and because it provides babies with such improved outcomes, we believe that donor human milk should first be available to the sickest babies that need it most,” said Dr. Peter Untalan, neonatologist with St. David’s Healthcare and president of the MMBA Board of Directors.

The Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin needs 700 donors to meet the expected 2013 demand. As of May 2013, 225 women are approved and active donors. Breastfeeding and lactating women in Mississippi who are interested in donating their breastmilk for the benefit of premature, ill and medically fragile infants may call toll-free 1-877-813-6455 to begin the screening process. Forrest General’s Milk Depot accepts breastmilk donations from all screened and approved donors. For information on how to donate, call the Forrest General Lactation Department at 601-288-3763.

About the Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin
The Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin is a non-profit organization whose mission is to accept, pasteurize and dispense donor human milk by physician prescription, primarily to premature and ill infants. Women who are lactating can donate milk to The Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin regardless of where they live. In 2012, the milk bank received donations from 589 mothers from 20 states. Prospective donors across the U.S. may call toll-free 1-877-813-6455. Learn more at

Forrest General is certified as a Primary Stroke Center by DNV Healthcare, Inc.

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