During the celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, a human milk depot will hold its grand opening in Bucks County.
In partnership with Acelleron Medical Products, Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast (MMBNE) will expand its operations to the greater Philadelphia area for the first time. With 13 other depots across the Northeast region, MMBNE currently dispenses to over 80 hospitals and families, including over a dozen hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Currently, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is the only other option for mothers who wish to donate their excess breastmilk. These milk depots dispense primarily to premature and sick babies whose mothers do not have enough milk for them.
"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.
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An estimated one in ten preterm infants develop a life-threatening condition called necrotizing enterocolitis. Human breastmilk not only lowers the risk of this disease by 79%, but also reduces costs and shortens hospital stays.
Donor milk is rapidly becoming the standard supplement to mothers’ milk for preterm infants across the country.
These milk depots serve as just the starting point in the donation process. After the mother passes screenings such as an interview and review of health history, her sample is then tested at the MMBNE lab to ensure complete safety before going to hospitals or families.
New Jersey mother Leah Conte will help inaugurate the Bensalem depot by donating milk on the day of the opening.
"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," Conte said.
The grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony is set for Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at 3331 Street Road in Bensalem.