A mother's breast milk is best for her newborn child, and doctors at St. Luke's Hospital on the County Club Plaza agree.
The hospital recently announced the opening of a fully functional human milk bank, the only one in the region.
The opening comes after doctors in Kansas City noticed a great demand for human breast milk for preterm newborns, not only in Kansas City but across the region.
Kary Wilson says her daughter, who benefited from donated milk, has an anonymous donor to thank.
"I like knowing when I wasn't able to produce the milk and produce the vitamins and nutrients that she was able to get it from somebody who was able to donate it especially in those first few hours when its the most important for her to get all that," Kary Wilson said.
The St. Luke's Heart of America Mother's Milk Bank is one of more than a dozen fully functioning nonprofit banks in the United States. They are a part of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America network.
In 2011, the Human Milk Banking Association of North America distributed close to 2 million ounces of donor milk to high-risk infants across the U.S. and Canada.
Dr. Barbara Carr is a neonatologist and the medical director for the milk bank. She says the need for human breast milk is huge, as preterm babies rely on the nutrition provided by the milk.
"The nutritional needs are different. The immunological needs are different. Breast milk, human milk really provides additional immunological factors for the babies and additional nutritional factors for the babies that can't be matched by formula," Dr. Barbara Carr said.
If a mother is interested in donating or they would just like to learn more about the program, they can do so by calling the hospital at 816-932-4888.
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