On the day the new Milk Depot at Parkview Noble Hospital opened, Lindsey Pankop, RN, Parkview Noble, delivered the first donation of 400 ounces of breastmilk. She was able to pump and save up milk after having her baby boy, Gavin, in September 2016.
Michelle Harlan, lactation consultant at Parkview Noble oversees the Milk Depot and was instrumental in its opening. Harlan donated 10,000 ounces to the Milk Bank in Indianapolis from November 2013 – October 2014. To make her donations at that time, she would have to save up her milk by freezing it at home and then drive the frozen bags in a cooler to Fort Wayne, where they would be picked up and transported to Indianapolis. So when the Milk Bank contacted her about opening a depot at Parkview Noble, she said it was an easy decision.
With the help of Parkview Noble Hospital administration, Michelle and team converted a storage room in the lower level of the hospital into the new Milk Depot. It’s painted a soothing yellow and has a freezer for storing the donated milk. There’s also a rocking chair in the room should moms want to use it to breastfeed or pump milk for donations.
Gary Adkins, president, Parkview Noble, said he is happy the hospital is able to offer this resource to the families in our area. “I feel this is just one more way we are giving people the same opportunities they have in larger communities.”
The milk is frozen locally and then sent to the Milk Bank in Indianapolis. From there the milk is delivered to fragile infants in hospitals and neonatal intensive care units whose mothers are not pumping enough breast milk for their baby and/or the baby can’t tolerate formula. The milk can be ordered by a physician in the NICU setting or the mothers can request the breast milk to be used over formula. Any mother can get the breast milk from the Milk Bank in Indianapolis, however, it is $4 per ounce for a mother to get it out right.
Moms who are interested in donating must meet a few basic requirements:
- Be a non-smoker in good general health
- Undergo a blood test at the Milk Bank’s expense
- Be willing to donate at least 100 ounces before their child’s second birthday.
Sarah Long, director clinical operations at the Milk Bank in Indianapolis spoke on the safety aspect of having the milk collected and stored locally. “The safety of the breast milk is extremely important for moms. This is not just an issue of convenience,” she said. “You can’t put a value on the safety factor that moms know the milk is safe.”
Harlan is also very pleased that a local milk depot is in place. “Having this new depot centrally located in Noble County will give moms of this area a safe place to take their milk, relieving them of the burden of having to find a place for their excess supply,” she said. Parkview Noble’s site will hopefully eliminate informal sharing of breastmilk which Harlan explains is unsafe due to the risk of infection, not knowing how the milk was collected or stored and other safety factors.
Harlan is also available to assist moms needing information or assistance with setting up to be a milk donor. “We can help get them through the screening process with our lab right here and make it very easy for them. Every mom’s journey is a little different but we are here to help make their experience the best it can be.”
To learn more, contact Michelle Harlan RN, BSN, IBCLC, at Parkview Noble Hospital at (260) 347-8345 or go to themilkbank.org and click on “become a donor”.