The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia recently announced it will develop a nonprofit milk bank to provide donor human milk for hospitalized infants at the hospitals main campus, with the goal of opening in late summer of 2015, according to a news release.
CHOP will develop the bank in cooperation with the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, a professional organization that sets the standards and guidelines for non-profit donor milk banking in North America. Once open, it will be one of the only nonprofit milk banks inside a freestanding childrens hospital in the U.S., according to the release.
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, Diane L. Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN, director of lactation at CHOP, said in the release. 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.
In addition to strengthening an infants immune system to help fight disease and infection, human milk also contains growth hormones to help babies grow and is easier to digest than formula, according to the release.
At CHOP, human milk is not viewed as food but as a medical intervention, Spatz said in the release. The immunological and anti-inflammatory properties of human milk are especially important for the critically ill infants treated in our newborn/infant intensive care unit and other intensive care units.
CHOPs breastfeeding and lactation program is led by Spatz, an internationally known lactation expert. The hospitals team of lactation researchers and consultants is supplemented by more than 600 specially trained breastfeeding resource nurses who provide support to breastfeeding mothers and families. CHOP has a state-of-the art Human Milk Management Center, staffed by trained technicians seven-days-a-week. They work with nutrition, nursing and lactation specialists to develop a plan of care for infants with special needs.
The hospital has used donor human milk since 2006 for at-risk infants to supplement a mothers own milk supply if it is insufficient or if the mother is unable to provide milk for her infant. This milk is ordered from a HMBANA-certified milk bank, where it is processed and pasteurized in accordance with stringent safety guidelines, and then shipped to CHOP. There are 17 HMBANA milk banks throughout the U.S. and Canada, with the closest banks in Ohio and Massachusetts, according to the release.