(Pictured above: Local mom Hollie Whinham, with baby Ashlynn, donates the first 305 ounces to milk depot manager Tracy McMahan, IBCLC, of the Mothers' Milk Bank of Tennessee Depot at Nashville General Hospital.)
A new program to help nourish vulnerable newborns and pre-term babies is up and running in the state. Mothers' Milk Bank of Tennessee (MMBTN) is a not-for-profit providing safe donor human milk to benefit infants in need within the state.
In late March 2016, MMBTN opened its first Milk Bank Depot locally at Nashville General Hospital (a second location is in Memphis). The depot serves as a collection site for frozen human breast milk. Donated milk is sent off site for pasteurization before its distribution to Tennessee hospitals to prescribe to pre-term and critically sick babies.
"Nashville General Hospital is pleased to join Mothers' Milk Bank of Tennessee as one of the first donation sites in Tennessee. Our hospital is located in one of the highest areas for infant mortality in the state, and by joining their efforts, we hope to make a difference in the lives of the babies served," says Joseph Webb, CEO of Nashville General Hospital.
Eligibility requirements for moms wishing to donate their breast milk include: being in overall general good health; non-smokers who consume less than two alcoholic drinks per day; willing to undergo a blood test (at the milk bank's expense); not regularly using medication or herbal supplements (with a few exceptions); willing to donate 100 ounces of milk initially and continue pumping to donate as you are able; nursing an infant who is younger than 1 year of age (bereaved and surrogate mothers can also donate); be able to arrange for transportation of your milk to the depot; and more.
The application process includes an initial phone screening prior to the blood test screening to rule out HIV, RPR, HTLV, and hepatitis B & C. The approval process takes between one and four weeks.
To learn more about MMBTN including all of the requirements to become a breast-milk donor, visit milkbanktn.org