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St. Mary Medical Center opens first breast milk depot in north La.

New federal guidelines state babies 6 months or younger should only have breast milk
New federal guidelines state babies 6 months or younger should only have breast milk
Published: Mar. 18, 2021 at 8:30 AM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - St. Mary Medical Center is home to the first breast milk depot in north Louisiana.

Mothers with newborns can drop off any extra milk to help premature babies across the state. The milk is collected at St. Mary Medical Center before being sent to Mother’s Milk Bank of Louisiana in New Orleans for testing and pasteurization.

The milk is then distributed to neonatal intensive care units (NICU) across the state, including the NICU at St. Mary Medical Center.

Many mothers with premature babies are unable to breastfeed. The breast milk donated by other mothers is the next best thing for the NICU babies.

“The breast milk is easier to digest, and has all of the proteins and nutrients in it that our tiny babies require,” said Morgan Hayes, Nurse Supervisor of the NICU at St. Mary Medical Center.

The milk can also provide increased resistance to infections and lower the baby’s chance of developing asthma or allergies.

The NICU at Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport - St. Mary Medical Center can require as much as 300 ounces of breast milk a week for its tiny patients.

“This really brings a different level of care to us,” said Chris Mangin, CEO for St. Mary Medical Center. “We’re going to deliver 2,500 babies this year, maybe 3,000 next year, and mothers are looking for something progressive like this. We want to provide it to them.”

Any mothers wishing to donate must apply and undergo a health screening and blood test. The cost of the health screening is covered by the Milk Bank.

To start the process, call the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Louisiana at (504) 703-6455 or email them at mothersmilkbank@ochsner.org.

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