Oklahoma Mothers Milk Bank: Everything You Need To Know
Milk banks provide pasteurized breast milk donated from healthy breastfeeding mothers to infants in need, especially during times of formula shortages. They play an especially vital role now.
Saint Luke’s is proud to partner with other milk depots and hospitals in the region to assist families in keeping their babies fed. Learn more about this important initiative from Becky Mannel, director of Oklahoma Mothers Milk Bank.
What is OMMB?
Milk banks collect, test, pasteurize and freeze donor human breast milk before providing it via prescription to hospitals for infants who need it. They are accredited by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America and typically housed within hospitals but may operate independently – OMMB became the 13th milk bank in America when operations commenced in August 2013.
Mothers’ milk provides crucial nutrition for newborn babies who must remain hospitalized, such as preterm or sick infants. Not only is it rich in essential vitamins, minerals and fats not found in formula, it contains antibodies which fight infections to build strong immunity in infants.
Many mothers opt to share their excess breast milk with friends and family in need, which is an amazing way to give back. It must however, be carefully screened to ensure it comes from a healthy mom – that is why The OMMB service undergoes stringent health inspections, rigorous testing and training procedures in order to guarantee donor and recipient safety.
Saint Luke’s has taken steps to support parents during the current formula shortage by connecting them with milk depot sites where pre-approved donors can deposit their milk, which will then be sent directly to Missouri and Oklahoma milk banks where it will be tested, pasteurized and frozen before reaching consumers.
How do I donate?
Though breastfeeding is usually best for infants, not all mothers can produce enough milk to supply their infant. Donor breastmilk donations provide an effective solution: mothers unable to breastfeed can donate excess supply directly to an organization such as OMMB that will process and distribute the breastmilk directly to hospitals for newborns in need.
Due to the baby formula shortage, milk banks have experienced an unprecedented surge in interest from parents looking for alternatives such as donated breast milk. Lindsay Groff, executive director of Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), reports inquiries are up 20% year over year.
Milk donated to a milk bank is carefully tested and pasteurized before being sent for sale, according to her. Additionally, they will ensure the mother contributing is healthy with no medical or lifestyle factors that would make her breastmilk unsafe for consumption by infants. Breastfeeding mothers should seek advice from their healthcare provider prior to sharing or purchasing breastmilk from another woman.
To donate to OMMB, first complete a quick telephone screening to assess whether or not you qualify as a milk bank donor. Next, complete and return a donation packet including health history form completion/return as well as blood work appointment scheduling.
What are the benefits of donating?
OMMB strives to help infants whose mothers cannot provide their own milk access vital nutrition that their bodies require for healthy development. Breast milk provides essential nourishment, growth-stimulating enzymes and defense mechanisms needed for growth; unfortunately however, due to illness or premature birth sometimes women cannot nurse their own babies themselves; donated human breast milk donations are collected, screened, processed and disbursed through an international network of milk banks across North America on prescription.
OMMB collects donated breast milk from mothers who have an excess supply and pasteurizes it to ensure infant safety. They work with healthcare professionals and hospitals to distribute it directly to babies in need – such as preterm infants admitted for NICU care or as bridge milk solutions until mothers’ own supply becomes adequate.
OMMB breast milk can also provide healthy full-term infants who require extra immunity and nutrition as well as those who have allergies or digestive issues a boost, with families across Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Texas being served. In contrast to retail formula shortages that currently impact retail shelves, this breast milk from OMMB is free for NICU patients as well as Oklahoma babies receiving it through public insurance programs like KanCare and Medicaid.
How do I get started?
As retail shelves remain empty of infant formula, breastfeeding mothers are turning to providing extra milk through human milk depots in northwest Arkansas in partnership with Oklahoma Mothers Milk Bank (OMMB). Pre-approved nursing women can bring extra breastmilk (also referred to as extra human milk) directly to our campus on 39th and Rainbow in Kansas City for processing by the Oklahoma Mothers Milk Bank who then test, pasteurize and store it until needed by hospitals or patients who possess valid physician’s prescriptions.
OU Health serves as the inaugural human milk depot in northwest Arkansas in partnership with Oklahoma Mothers Milk Bank (OMMB). Nursing women pre-approved can bring extra breastmilk (also referred to as extra human milk) directly. For these purposes we serve as human milk depot.
Babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) often benefit from supplemented human milk; research demonstrates it increases survival and outcomes compared to using standard nutritional plans alone. Oklahoma Milk Banking Bank collects, processes and dispenses donor human milk to critically ill or premature newborns in Oklahoma and surrounding states in order to improve short- and long-term healthcare outcomes; we are accredited by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America.
Contrary to milk-sharing arrangements among friends or relatives, the OMMB welcomes contributions from any lactating mother who meets certain eligibility requirements and completes a 10- to 15 minute phone screening and blood test. While not intended as a replacement for breastfeeding a baby directly from his or her own mother, we strongly urge all parents seeking guidance from medical providers for guidance or support when providing breast milk to their babies.