SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Cottage Hospital partnered with Mothers' Milk Bank Friday to organize a milk drive for women wanting to donate excess supplies of breast milk.
The San Jose-based organization is the only non-profit milk bank in California and depends on donated breast milk for the 62,500 gallons needed each year to feed pre-term infants.
Screening restrictions apply through a three-step process which includes a blood test; all donated breast milk must be frozen for less than four months.
"Nothing can compare to a mother's milk in terms of the composition of the milk and the benefits to the baby," said Lori Weitz, a registered nurse with Cottage Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). "The antibodies...can't duplicate that in a laboratory."
Babies struggling to thrive, adopted infants, and babies with cardiac or intestinal problems as well as new mothers with health issues are among those who receive the donated milk.
"We service 63% of the hospitals in California," said Pauline Sakamoto, Executive Director of Mothers' Milk Bank. "They're the hospitals that have the really heavy levels of care for the very, very micro preemies as we would call them."
Mothers' Milk Bank is now 44 years strong in California. You'll find more information on their website at www.mothersmilk.org.