Our First Donor Milk Dispensary Opens in New Hampshire

Donor milk dispensary opening
NH Breastfeeding Task Force Chair Joyce Kelly, Director of Community Relations Ann Marie Lindquist, nurse-lactation consultant Betty Quinlan, donor Kristin Johnson with Ella, Caring for Kids Senior Office Manager Christine Farrell

Our very first outpatient donor milk dispensary opened on December 5, 2018 in Belmont, New Hampshire! The community came out in force to celebrate the opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for LRGHealthcare’s Belmont Medical Center, a new facility housing the Mothers’ Milk Dispensary, the Caring for Kids pediatrics practice, and Belmont Family Health.

A donor milk dispensary is a community location where a family whose baby has a prescription for donor milk can fill the prescription and take home the milk. Currently, babies in 11 New Hampshire hospitals can receive donor milk while hospitalized. However, once a baby leaves the hospital, if the baby still needs milk, the family must order the milk to be shipped from the milk bank.

Donor milk as a bridge to breastfeeding

As Susan Coulter, MD, Medical Director of Caring for Kids, explained eloquently to the assembled crowd and press, time is critical for mothers and babies who are struggling with breastfeeding upon discharge from the hospital. Receiving donor milk in the community as soon as a problem is identified can make a huge difference in long-term breastfeeding success. Research has shown that mothers tend to view donor milk as a temporary bridge, and formula as a permanent solution. For that reason, among others, donor milk serves as an effective support, or bridge to breastfeeding.

“We are proud to partner with Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast to be able to provide this unique service for parents and newborns,” stated Dr. Coulter. “Breast milk is the optimal nutrition for infants, and donor milk can provide a bridge to successful breastfeeding when a new mother may be facing challenges in establishing her own milk supply. We are excited to be offering this valuable service to help support the best nutrition for babies, and peace of mind for parents.”

Our first donor milk dispensary in the Northeast region

By opening a donor milk dispensary, LRGHealthcare is on the leading edge of organizations providing access to donor milk in the community outside of the hospital setting. This is not only the first donor milk dispensary in New Hampshire; it is the first for our milk bank in the entire Northeast, and it will serve as a model for future dispensaries throughout the region. “A donor milk dispensary is a forward-thinking and innovative way to foster health and ensure that as many babies as possible have access to human milk,” commented Ann Marie Lindquist, the milk bank’s Director of Community Relations.

In addition to the donor milk dispensary, Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast also has five milk depots in New Hampshire, where screened donors can drop off milk for shipping to the milk bank.

Mom and baby who received and donated milk attended

The press interviewed Wolfeboro mom Kristin Johnson, who attended the opening with her daughter Ella. Kristin wrote a blog story for us, and she credits lactation consultant Betty Quinlan for helping her receive then later donate milk. Betty, together with Senior Office Manager Christine Farrell, has been instrumental in setting up and managing the donor milk dispensary with the support of the milk bank’s Director of Client Relations, Cynthia Cohen.

Television and print media coverage

Press coverage of the opening was enthusiastic and supportive:

WMUR Television

Laconia Daily Sun

New Hampshire Public Radio

Receiving milk at the donor milk dispensary

The LRGHealthcare Mothers’ Milk Dispensary is located at the Caring for Kids pediatric practice, Belmont Medical Center, 8 Corporate Drive, Belmont, NH. The practice is open Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm, and an appointment is recommended; call 603-528-0995. Upon arrival, please allow approximately 30 minutes to fill out paperwork required for dispensing milk. Parents can bring a prescription from their baby’s healthcare provider, or the dispensary can help arrange a prescription for them.

Donor milk dispensary
Nurse-lactation consultant Betty Quinlan, Director of Community Relations Ann Marie Lindquist, NH Breastfeeding Task Force Chair Joyce Kelly, Caring for Kids Medical Director Dr. Susan Coulter