TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Tucson Medical Center opened the breast milk depot in August. It opened after there was a decline in milk donations around the country due to the pandemic. But since opening, nurse Noreen Carver says, “there’s been such a great response from the community for this milk depot.”
Dr. Jennifer Smith gave us an update on the numbers. She says, “we probably sent 4 thousand ounces to the milk bank since we’ve started this.”
The milk bank is located in Austin, Texas. It helps send out the milk to a number of cities around the country, including Southern Arizona.
Dr. Smith says, “most NICU’s in the U.S. are now using donor milk for their NICU babies.”
It’s something that stood out to nurse Heidi Clark. “I see NICU moms on my floor. These moms, they either want to breastfeed or maybe they can’t for some reason but they really want their babies to have breast milk,” she says.
After giving birth to her daughter, Clark had an idea. She says, “I have an abundance of milk that I just can’t seem to keep up with how much my daughter is drinking and how much I’m making. So I looked into ways that I can give to other moms.”
She says TMC makes it very easy for a donor to get involved once they pass the screening to become a donor. “What’s really nice is through TMC you don’t have to worry about how am I going to ship it? How am I going to know if it’s the right temperature? You literally just call them when you have enough milk to donate, they’ll come out to your car and get it.
That milk goes a long way for hospitals across the country. Carver says, “when you’re donating milk, you’re providing milk for a baby in need. Human milk really saves babies lives.”
If you’re interested in becoming a donor, call TMC at 1-877-813-6455.
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