Milk Depot Opens at Ochsner St. Anne Hospital

There is a large need for donor human milk in hospital neonatal intensive care units across the United States. Mother’s milk is especially crucial to vulnerable premature babies and significantly decreases the odds of life-threatening complications and infections. One in eight babies is born preterm. Despite their best efforts, sometimes mothers of preterm infants are unable to provide their own milk. Pasteurized donated human milk is the next best option. A milk depot provides a secure, convenient storage place for approved donors to donate this scarce resource.

As part of Ochsner’s continued commitment to providing evidenced-based programs that support mother-infant bonding and safe feeding practices, Ochsner St. Anne Hospital is proud to announce that it’s the first in the region to open a Milk Depot for the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Louisiana at Ochsner Baptist.

The Mothers’ Milk Bank of Louisiana (MMBL) received accreditation from the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) in March 2018, making Louisiana the 22nd state in the U.S. to open a HMBANA-accredited donor human milk bank.

Women who are actively lactating are eligible to be screened by the MMBL staff at no charge to become an approved human milk donor. Depot sites such as Ochsner St. Anne function as a user-friendly and safe satellite storage facility for HMBANA milk banks such as MMBL. The milk is stored and shipped frozen to MMBL for pasteurization.

Nonprofit milk banks like MMBL follow HMBANA guidelines to ensure donor human milk is safe and available to the infants who need it most. The human milk dispensed is processed to meet the specific needs of fragile and sick babies

“We are extremely excited to have a local place where approved donors  can drop off their life saving milk to be used for infants in need across our state” said lactation nurse Pam Folse from Ochsner St. Anne Hospital. “We are so grateful to Dr. Natasha Goss, OB/GYN at Ochsner Women’s Health Center – Raceland, for being both a resource and our first official approved donor here at the Ochsner St. Anne Milk Depot.”

Just as Dr. Goss, a physician at the hospital where she donated, made her involvement in the Milk Depot personal, the creation of the Mothers’ Milk Bank at Ochsner Baptist was personal as well.

“In the spirit of milk being donated by mothers in the Louisiana community, we’re trying to grow this milk bank from financial donations and community support,” said Dr. Harley Ginsberg, Section Head of Neonatology and Medical Director of the NICU at Ochsner Baptist. Dr. Ginsberg, the driving force behind developing the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Louisiana at Ochsner Baptist, spearheaded the campaign by being the initial donor; he and his wife, Susan, donated $5,000, and then contributed a $100,000 matching grant.

“We realized that if we were not willing to take the lead, then we had no right asking others to put a penny toward the project,” Dr. Ginsberg says. “And the Ochsner community, from the doctors and nurses to our organizations that have partnered with our philanthropy department, has been tremendously supportive of this initiative.”

“This is not just a ‘feel-good’ project,” Dr. Ginsberg adds. “Study after study shows that a mother’s milk is vastly superior to any commercially prepared formula, especially with regard to nutritional and immunogenic support.” Mother’s milk offers the best available protection against necrotizing enterocolitis, an often-fatal affliction of the intestines in preemies. Studies show that preemies fed mother’s milk have one-sixth the incidence of this disease.

Local mothers interested in donating their milk first undergo a screening process which includes lab work. Once the screening process is complete, the donor is given a MMBL donor ID number and can drop off milk at Ochsner St. Anne Hospital in Raceland, seven days per week. Approved donors can bring their milk to the third floor Mother Baby Unit between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. To schedule a drop off call, 985.537.2335.

For more information on the milk
depot at Ochsner St. Anne, please contact the Lactation Department at 985.537.8291.