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The not-for-profit Indiana Mothers' Milk Bank will collect, pasteurize and distribute donor human milk for premature or sick infants around the state that otherwise might not have access to it. Clarian Health Partners led development of the milk bank on the Indianapolis west side. There are only nine milk banks across the nation. Medical experts say human milk is the ideal food for premature and sick babies since it has immunologic protection and is easily digested.

Source: Inside INdiana Business

Press Release

INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Mothers' Milk Bank opens on Thursday, Aug. 11, to collect, pasteurize and distribute donor human milk for premature or sick infants who otherwise might not have access to it. Clarian Health Partners led development of the community-based milk bank, which is located at Methodist Medical Plaza II at Eagle Highlands on Indianapolis' west side. It is the only milk bank in Indiana and one of only nine in the nation. The milk bank will provide donor human milk to recipients in central Indiana and throughout the state. A press conference is set for 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

"We know now through research how important it is that babies receive mothers' milk, especially premature infants who are so at risk for life-threatening infections. Mothers' milk to them is like a medicine," said Mary M. Weber, RN, MSN, CNAA, program administrator for Clarian Women's Services. "But not all mothers are able to provide their own milk for their babies, and the bank will make it possible for more babies to receive the milk that they need to thrive."

Weber is chairperson of the bank's board of directors that includes representatives from the American Academy of Pediatrics' Section on Breastfeeding, Ball State University, the Indiana Perinatal Network, the La Leche League and St. Vincent Health. The bank is staffed by Executive Director Mary Alexander, MSW, MPH, and Clinical Coordinator Donna Miracle, RN, C., DNSc.

Human milk is the only substance that provides complete nutrition and immunologic protection for the human infant. It is an ideal food for premature and sick infants. It is easily digested by infants, enhances intestinal movement and contains multiple immune properties not present in commercial baby formula.

A mother's own milk is always the first choice because it is "custom-designed" for baby, Weber explained, and donor milk is a good alternative if mother's milk is not available. "Preemies" weighing less than 2.2 pounds are the most common users of banked milk. The ideal donor is a mother who has excess milk and a young infant, because her milk is higher in calories and protein.

Source: Clarian Health Partners

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