By Sybil Sanchez
“Having a premature child is a life-altering event, one that often I felt little control over. Being able to pump and share my breastmilk gave me a feeling of empowerment and purpose. I feel so privileged that I am able to share this life-giving source with other families. It is so exciting to know that a new depot is opening in our area. It will be an incredible resource to families.”
– Leah, local milk donor
Milk donors, healthcare providers, public health representatives, and community members attended the family-friendly donor milk depot celebration at the office of Acelleron Medical Products in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia. With a ribbon-cutting, refreshments, and remarks, the event was held on August 3rd and scheduled to coincide with World Breastfeeding Week.
“After seeing how many NICU babies our Connecticut and Massachusetts milk depots were able to support, I felt compelled to expand the efforts of this project into the Pennsylvania and New Jersey region, where I am based. As a lactation professional and a new mom, I feel connected to the families that have babies in need of donor milk,” said Kristen Quinn, Lactation Counselor for Acelleron’s Maternal Health Division.
Both regionally focused, Acelleron and Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast work together across the region. The Bensalem breast milk depot is their third collaboration. The milk bank has served numerous Pennsylvania hospitals for several years. The expanded Acelleron partnership will ensure that local families and healthcare providers have seamless support during the processes of donating and receiving milk.
In her remarks at the event, which can be seen on Facebook Live, milk bank community engagement advisor Amber Star Merkens stated, “[These] are premature, critically ill and fragile babies. One in nine babies in the United States are born prematurely, which is the number one killer of newborns . . . My own daughter was one of these babies, born at 28 weeks by an emergency c-section. She’s now a healthy and vibrant almost four-year-old and we feel very lucky for that, but she was in the hospital for six months. I witnessed the health disparities between those receiving artificial milk and those receiving only human milk.”
Evidence shows that premature babies are nearly 80% less likely to contract necrotizing enterocolitis, the number two cause of death for premature infants, when fed human milk.
Above: Proud big sister.
Screening to become a breast milk donor is done through an easy four-step process. Once accepted for donation, milk can be shipped door-to-door or through one of our donor milk depots throughout the Northeast.