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Tucson Medical Center opens depot for donor breast milk

Posted at 10:03 PM, Aug 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-07 23:21:18-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — It’s World Breastfeeding Week and to celebrate, Tucson Medical Center opened a Milk Depot for mothers to drop off extra breast milk.

Tucson Medical Center is the only hospital in the city giving babies donor breast milk, according to Noreen Carver, a registered nurse, and patient consultant.

Carver explained donor milk is used because it’s like medicine.

“It’s just helping to provide a higher level of health for infants and newborns,” said Carver. "They have less incidence of respiratory illness, for a lot of premature babies they have digestive issues in human milk is much easier on the gut, and actually provides immune benefits, and helps their digestive system develop it has special properties to do that so."

The breast milk comes from Mother’s Milk Bank in Austin.

The introduction of the depot, or drop-off center for participants, was a full-circle experience for TMC who said milk donated has the possibility of making it back to Tucson.

TMC added even the smallest donation goes a long way.

“The first day of life, a baby may only need five milliliters, which is nothing in the saddle. It's so tiny. Then maybe by day three, maybe they need about one ounce per feeding, and that's three feeds for this bottle," explained Carver.

She said many times, the milk is used for babies in the NICU— and those whose moms can’t produce enough milk.

“I had two babies that were born at TMC, and they both were able to use donor milk while they were there,” said Sonya Asunsolo.

Asunsolo was the first mom to offer up her extra breast milk to the Milk Depot.

“It's a wonderful feeling. Just knowing that my babies were helped by other women like me and just knowing that I could provide this to so many other babies, it's just, it's a wonderful feeling,” she said.

However, there's a process prospective participants must go through.

“It began with a phone interview, and then just some writing questions via email. Then a blood test, which was scheduled for me, and that was it,” explained Asunsolo.

TMC explained the tests check for transmissible diseases and ensure the milk is safe to share.

When the donor passes the screening, that's when their milk can help babies around the U.S.

If you'd like to donate, you can contact TMC at 1-877-813-6455.