Health – UConn Today
UConn John Dempsey Hospital will be the first hospital in Connecticut, and only location in the Greater Hartford Area, to serve as a milk depot for breast milk donations for newborns in need.
“Our new milk depot at UConn John Dempsey Hospital is going to benefit our tiniest patients in NICUs across Connecticut and the Northeast, including our very own, the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) here at UConn Health,” says Marisa Merlo, lactation consultant for UConn Health’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
UConn Health’s milk depot will be only the fifth in Connecticut to join Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast, a nonprofit community milk bank accredited by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, which distributes donated, pasteurized human milk to babies in fragile health throughout the Northeast.
Women interested in donating their breast milk can directly contact Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast to apply for eligibility and screening. Once women become eligible to donate, their breast milk donations will be accepted by Merlo at UConn Health and safeguarded at its new Milk Depot Room’s freezer. Merlo and her staff will safely ship the frozen milk to Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast for pasteurization processing and distribution to their network of NICUs.
Not all mothers of newborns can produce milk or a sufficient milk supply. Mothers with premature newborns can especially experience difficulty producing or pumping enough breast milk while their baby is in the NICU. Donor milk is a more beneficial substitute for fragile newborns than formula.
Breast milk has “endless benefits,” according to Merlo, and research shows it is the best source of nutrition for all babies, but especially those born prematurely. Breast milk can benefit a baby’s overall survival, healthy growth and development, and immunity. The CDC, WHO, and American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines all recommend that babies be …