When a registered dietitian donates milk, we are eager to hear her story. Nutrition experts like Allison Bruno understand at a deep level the effects that optimal feeding has on a person’s lifelong health. Allison works as Clinical Nutrition Manager at Central Maine Medical Center, where she handles artificial feeding for adults in the Intensive Care Unit. We caught up with her after meeting her in person at our recent milk depot opening at her hospital.
Preemie Nephew Inspired Milk Donation
Allison’s sister in New York had premature twins six months before Allison had her own baby. “One of my nephews stayed in the NICU for a little under a month,” said Allison. “During that time my sister was able to provide her own breast milk to him. Seeing the benefits of breast milk in my preemie nephew really opened my eyes to what could be done if all babies had a chance to receive breast milk. I was still pregnant at the time this happened, and once I realized I had extra milk from feeding my daughter I knew donation was what I wanted to do.”
Donating at a Maine Milk Depot
Like many first-time moms, Allison cautiously guarded her freezer stash, and by a few months in realized she had an ample ongoing supply, so she started the donation process. “Kelsea was six months at the time of our first donation. We traveled to the milk depot at Maine Medical Center together and donated about 1,000 ounces the first time!” The staff was excited to know a big drop-off was on the way, but “they were in shock with the large donation when we wheeled it in!,” said Allison. “When I dropped off the milk my daughter came with me and we packed it into the stroller and carried a large bag in as well.”
By the time of her final donation, she had sent in over 2,000 ounces of milk. As a healthcare provider, she knew how precious every ounce was to fragile babies. “Being a registered dietitian and working in a hospital I see the effects good nutrition can have on patients’ health,” commented Allison. “As I was pumping extra milk I would always try and think of the babies in need of this wonderful gift. In our specific area we see a lot of sick babies that could use a little extra love and nutrition from breast milk and it always helped me to think of those in need and the gift I could provide. I knew my milk might travel all over New England through donation, which meant it could reach so many babies that really needed it.”
Donating Milk is Easy
Allison is expecting another child, due in July. Her milk donation experience was so positive that she hopes to donate again. Now that her own hospital, Central Maine Medical Center, houses a depot, milk drop-off will be even easier. “The entire staff at the milk bank made me feel welcomed and valued at every interaction. They explained all the steps and made the enrollment process easy to complete. The certificate at the end was really unexpected and it felt so wonderful to receive it and be appreciated!”
Thank you to Allison and to all the healthcare providers who “share the health” not only professionally, but also personally, through milk donation.
Screening to become a breast milk donor is an easy four-step process. Once accepted for donation, milk can be shipped for free door-to-door or through one of our donor milk depots throughout the Northeast.