Avera Medical Minute: Mothers' Milk Bank - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Avera Medical Minute: Mothers' Milk Bank

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RN's in the Avera McKennan NICU are boxing up a shipment of donated breast milk to go to the Mothers' Milk Bank in Denver. RN's in the Avera McKennan NICU are boxing up a shipment of donated breast milk to go to the Mothers' Milk Bank in Denver.

For premature babies fighting to survive breast milk is always the best option in helping boost their immunity for that fight. But what happens if the mom died during childbirth or can't produce milk? While a new mom from Northeast Nebraska nurses her own baby back to health, she is giving the gift of liquid gold to other babies who desperately need it.

The NICU at Avera McKennan has become a home away from home for Becky Jones. The Hartington, Nebraska women gave birth to her third baby, Jackson on June 16th. He was 9 weeks early and bloated with 5 pounds of extra fluid. He was also born with a serious heart condition (Supraventricular Tachycardia) that caused Hydrops Fetalis. 9 out of 10 babies die from it. Mom credits superb hospital care at Avera McKennan, but she is doing her part too by nourishing her little fighter with breast milk.

Becky is also trying to give other babies in Jackson's position the same fighting advantage by donating her unused and frozen breast milk to the Mothers' Milk Bank in Denver.

Registered Nurse and Avera Lactation Consultant Kathy English says, "I think people are aware of the fact that when you need blood you go to the blood bank. You can't buy it. The same is true if your child needs human milk you go to the human milk bank."

Becky only feeds Jackson fresh milk, but is producing more than he can eat so the freezers were overflowing with frozen milk and that's why she wants to give the gift of liquid gold.

Kelli Fagerness is a registered nurse and also a breast lactation educator in Avera Women's and Children. She was one of the RN's packing up Becky's milk in dry ice to send to Denver. She says, "Any mother who is able to donate milk to the milk bank is really giving a gift to many families. Once it goes there it is pooled, pasteurized and dispersed through the United States so many families benefit."

This is Becky's 3rd shipment. Like any blood donation, the mother and her baby are both screened thoroughly with a complete medical history done on both with their doctors signing off on it. The mother also has blood drawn and a work-up done. But unlike blood types, breast milk is universally compatible.

Kathy says, "Any baby can drink breast milk. For most babies who receive this milk have weird metabolic disorders that can only tolerate human milk or perhaps waiting for a transplant and need milk to boost their immune system with all the antibodies in the milk."

Becky says it really is a miracle that Jackson survived. She counts her blessings and donates to the milk bank because she thinks every baby deserves a miracle too. 

There are 11 Mothers' Milk Banks in the country. Avera McKennan works with the Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center in Denver.
For more information:
303-869-1888 direct
877-458-5503 toll free


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