World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, is being observed in countries around the globe to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. It is widely accepted that a mother’s milk is a baby’s best first food because it provides unique and significant health benefits that can last a lifetime. Many organizations across Colorado are committed to supporting women and families during their breastfeeding journey to increase the number of infants who are exclusively breastfed at six-months of age, a recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Mothers’ Milk Bank, a member of Colorado Nonprofit Association, is a key player in the effort to promote breastfeeding, hosting events and providing resources to inform and support families across Colorado throughout the year.
Mothers’ Milk Bank (MMB), a nonprofit program of Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation, exists to provide safe donor human milk to medically fragile babies across the United States. As the nation’s second-oldest nonprofit milk bank, MMB recently celebrated 35 years of service and, thanks to the generosity of breastfeeding mothers, has consistently been one of the largest distributors of pasteurized human milk to hospitals across the nation, saving the lives of countless babies from Alaska to Florida every day. MMB also makes milk available for families for whom a baby’s own mother’s milk is not available.
Mothers’ Milk Bank Fast Facts:
MMB processes an average of 25,000 ounces of human milk every week.
MMB dispenses nearly 750,000 ounces of milk to babies in more than 26 states on an annual basis.
More than 85 percent of MMB’s donated human milk goes to hospitals for preterm and sick babies. One ounce of a human milk donation can feed an infant in neonatal intensive care for a full day.
Milk donors must undergo a blood test and health screening, be willing to donate a minimum of 150 ounces total and have a medical release form signed by the mother’s and baby’s doctors.
All donated milk is pasteurized to kill viruses and bacteria while still maintaining approximately 95 percent of everything that was originally in the milk. Milk is tested for drugs of abuse.
As a founding member of Human Milk Banking Association of North America, MMB does not charge for the milk, only for the processing of the milk and related expenses. Volunteers are utilized whenever possible.
Anyone interested in more information on donating or receiving milk may contact Mothers’ Milk Bank at MothersMilkBank@rmchildren.org, 303.869.1888 or www.milkbankcolorado.org.
Mothers’ Milk Bank Supporting Moms and Families
MMB was the first organization in Colorado to open a Baby Café, in May 2018. Baby Cafés offer FREE lactation support every week from certified lactation counselors and a safe social community for nursing moms. Breastfeeding is natural; however, it does not always come naturally and support and guidance can be critical to ensure it is a good experience for both the infant and mother. Mothers’ Milk Bank Baby Café takes place at MMB every Friday from 11a.m.-1p.m. There is also a MMB Baby Café at Hygge Birth Center in the Lowry neighborhood and another will open next month at the Jewish Community Center. All services are free and women and infants of any age are invited to drop in without a reservation.
On August 5 from 10 am -12 pm, the pumpspotting Breast Express will be at Mothers’ Milk Bank, bringing women together to nurse, pump, nourish and connect. The Breast Express RV, a 40-foot nursing and pumping suite, “luxury lounge on wheels,” is touring the country to help unite communities in lactation conversation, celebrate moms and breastfeeding advocates, and share breastfeeding stories. Families can talk with a certified lactation counselor from Mothers’ Milk Bank, experience the pumpspotting app to identify other breastfeeding-friendly spaces in the communities and enjoy tours of the milk bank and Baby Café, giveaways and snacks. All families are welcome to attend this free event and approved Mothers’ Milk Bank donors can drop off their milk as part of the mini milk drive and pick up a free picnic blanket.