Human milk is the very best medicine for human babies, but it is particularly important for preterm or sick babies. Mother’s own milk is always best but if it is not available or there is not enough, the next best feeding option is pasteurized, banked human donor milk. The SMH Neonatal Intensive Care Unit received a grant from the Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, Inc., that has made possible the purchase of human donor milk for our tiniest babies. Human donor milk for SMH is being purchased from Mother’s Milk Bank in Austin Texas, a member of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) who carefully screen donors, pasteurizes and tests milk before sending to hospitals. SMH joins some of the most clinically excellent and forward thinking hospitals in Florida by adding this fantastic new program, which is a significant enhancement to the nutrition and feeding program in the SMH NICU. This reinforces SMH’s commitment to building a healthier community one baby step at a time. Mary O’Connor, Manager, Childbirth Education, Lactation Services said “We are committed to the providing the very best evidenced based nutritional care for our tiniest babies”
Benefits of Human Milk include:
- Human milk strengthens the baby’s immune system and may help your baby fight disease and infection.
- Human milk fed babies have shorter hospital stays and reach full feedings faster.
- Breastfeeding reduces the risk of childhood leukemia and Type 1 Diabetes, as well as obesity.
- It also contains active growth and developmental hormones.
- Human milk is also easier to digest than most formulas and prepares the baby’s bowel for feeding.
- Breastfeeding and breast milk are effective interventions to reduce pain in neonates.
- According to some studies, human milk may also increase intelligence and reduce allergies later in life.
Possible outcomes of Formula Feeding:
- Increased risk of bowel injury such as necrotizing enterocolitis.
- A baby who is not breastfed is 5 times more likely to be admitted into the hospital with gastro-enteritis.
- Formula feeding is associated with higher risk of obesity in adulthood.
This couple and their newborn recently benefited from the human donor milk: