The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has a healthy new plan to care for its tiniest at-risk patients. The world-renowned hospital announced today that it will open a human milk bank on its main campus in the summer of 2015.
The hospital has used donor milk to supplement a mother's own milk for at-risk infants, but acquired the donor milk elsewhere. The new project provides additional resources to patients and the current Human Milk Management Center on the hospital's campus.
“By developing an onsite milk bank, we will no longer have to ship out milk donated by our families and wait for it to be pasteurized and processed elsewhere,” said Diane L. Spatz, PhD, RN -BC, FAAN, director of lactation at CHOP.
CHOP will work with the Human Milk Banking Association of North America to launch the only nonprofit human milk bank inside a U.S. children's hospital.
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“By doing all of this work onsite we will streamline what is now a lengthy process and make it even easier for our families and employees to donate milk,” said Spatz.
The closest donor milk banks are presently in Ohio and Massachusetts.
Breast milk has various health and emotional benefits. It provides a "protective effect against respiratory illnesses, ear infections, gastrointestinal diseases, and allergies including asthma, eczema and atopic dermatitis," according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
In order to become a HMBANA donor, the mother must meet strict donor criteria to ensure that she is healthy and the milk is safe, according to CHOP. Donor mothers are volunteers and are not compensated.