(North Canton) – This past weekend the first breast milk deposit site in Northeast Ohio opened in North Canton.
The drop-off is in partnership with OhioHealth Mothers’ Milk Bank. The nonprofit organization provides pasteurized breast milk to newborn babies in need. This mostly includes premature and ill babies in hospitals.
Women who are breastfeeding are able to drop-off breast milk they would like to donate to the organization by stopping by the facility at The Hearth Mother Lactation Services 1303 West Maple Street, Suite 105 in North Canton, inside Oasis Women’s Health. Officials note that donors must undergo screening and be pre-approved by the Milk Bank before donations are accepted.
“We are thrilled to be opening this new milk drop to make donating even easier,” said Chris Smith, RN, outreach coordinator and lactation consultant at the milk bank. “With this new milk drop, approved donors in North Canton and the surrounding communities can conveniently donate their milk. Pasteurized donor milk is liquid gold for babies who need it. In 2019 alone we distributed nearly 376,647 ounces of milk all over the country – that’s about 3,000 gallons! Just one ounce can feed a premature infant for three days, so every little bit helps.”
The approval process includes an interview and lab work with costs covered by the Milk Bank. Once approved, the women receive shipping supplies from the Milk Bank. Donors can then begin dropping off frozen milk at the milk depot or ship it overnight through FedEx. Officials add that shipping fees are also covered by the Milk Bank.
“We are thrilled to be able to provide this service to donors in and around North Canton,” added Kaci Godbehere, certified lactation counselor of The Hearth Mother. “I am honored to have this opportunity to help in my community. Milk drops enable women to easily donate their milk without having to worry about storing or shipping it themselves. We hope this will encourage more women to consider donating.”
The milk is pasteurized, bottled, and then distributed at the facility in Columbus. It is most often shipped to hospitals where it is used in neonatal intensive care units to help feed babies who are premature or critically ill. There are a total of nine drop-off locations in Ohio, but the North Canton facility is the first in Northeast Ohio.
Benefits of Breast Milk
Infants benefit greatly from human milk, especially those who are premature, ill, or have life-threatening conditions. Human milk is the ultimate source of nutrients and immune protection for infants. Babies benefit from the active growth hormones, developmental enzymes, infection-fighting and immunological factors found in human milk.
Research shows that human milk helps pre-term infants:
- Reach full feeds sooner and need fewer IVs
- Mature their intestines faster
- Spend fewer days in the hospital
- Reduce risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (a potentially fatal bowel infection)
- Reduce risk of sepsis (blood infection) and fewer infections
- Experience long-term IQ advantages over formula-fed infants
- Be healthier as older children and adults
More information about the OhioHealth Mothers’ Milk Bank, including a video, may be found at https://www.ohiohealth.com/locations/womens-health/mothers-milk-bank/