By Mary-Kathryn Craft
S.C. moms can now support other moms and premature newborns by donating breast milk to the Mother’s Milk Bank of South Carolina.
The milk bank, which opened this spring and is the second of its kind in the Southeast, provides the perfect opportunity for healthy breastfeeding mothers with surplus milk to help babies in need.
Mother’s milk is important for newborns, especially for premature, very low birth weight babies who are at higher risk for many serious health conditions. Sometimes new moms find it difficult to make enough milk for their premature, very low birth weight infants.
This is why the milk bank was created by various partners including the Medical University of South Carolina, the S.C. Neonatal Consortium and the S.C. Birth Outcomes Initiative. Donated milk is distributed to hospitalized, very low birth weight infants statewide.
The milk bank is currently housed at MUSC, and there are donation drop-off sites at DHEC health departments, as well as hospitals and pediatric clinics throughout the Palmetto State.
Becoming a donor is easy. The Mother’s Milk Bank of South Carolina follows all standards established by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America to ensure safety and be recognized as an accredited milk bank. Each donor will be required to go through a screening process in order to meet these standards.
You’re likely to qualify as a donor if:
- You’re generally healthy,
- You don’t smoke,
- You’re willing to undergo a blood test. (Tests will be no cost to you and arranged at a nearby location.)
- You’re able to transport your milk to a nearby drop-off site,
- Your milk could be delivered to a baby within one year of pump date.
Learn more about how to become a donor at scmilkbank.org.
For breastfeeding tips and more information about its health benefits, check out DHEC’s page.
Breast milk is the ideal nutrition for babies, especially if the newborn is ill or was born prematurely. Breast milk donation is one of the most beautiful, pure, and selfless acts a mother could do for another. This great initiative will make a big difference in the lives of hundreds of premature and sick babies and will give comfort to their families. Breastfeeding is great for mothers too, and donating surplus milk will offer a host of health benefits to donor mothers.