(Providence, RI) -- On Tuesday, April 20, 2021, Women & Infants Hospital announced the launch of a new donor milk program, in partnership with Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast, a nonprofit community milk bank operating under the guidelines of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA).
“I’m a pediatrician, but more importantly, I’m also the father of a former premature baby, and I can tell you firsthand that I feel extremely confident that if my family needed to use donor breast milk, it would be the best for my son,” said Robert M. Insoft, MD, FAAP, Medical Director of Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast; Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs and Quality; Chief Medical Officer at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island.
A neonatologist and Professor of Pediatrics at the Brown University Alpert Medical School, Dr. Insoft previously served as Medical Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Neonatal Respiratory Services at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he was also the quality officer in the NICU, and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.
Human milk can be lifesaving for preterm infants. It is especially protective against a life-threatening condition called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), which affects one in ten of the smallest preterm infants. Human breast milk is estimated to lower the risk of this condition by 79%. It also lowers hospital costs by reducing costs for care and shortening hospital stays.
Donor milk is rapidly becoming the standard supplement to mothers' milk for preterm infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). In addition, an increasing number of community hospitals with regular and special care nurseries use donor milk when babies need a supplement to their mothers’ own milk.
The milk bank providing donor milk to the hospital collects milk from mothers who have more than their babies need; screens, pasteurizes, and tests the milk; then dispenses it by prescription or physician order to babies whose mothers do not have enough milk for them. Milk donor screening, modeled after blood donor screening, includes health history, physician approval, and a blood test. Milk from mothers who pass the screening is also pasteurized and tested by an independent lab to ensure safety before being dispensed to hospitals or families.
About Women & Infants Hospital
Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New England hospital, is one of the nation’s leading specialty hospitals for women and newborns. A major teaching affiliate of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University for obstetrics, gynecology, and newborn pediatrics, as well as a number of specialized programs in women’s medicine, Women & Infants is the ninth largest stand-alone obstetrical service in the country and the largest in New England with approximately 8,700 deliveries per year. Women & Infants is a Designated Baby-Friendly® USA hospital, a U.S.News & World Report 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospital in Neonatology, and a 2014 Leapfrog Top Hospital. The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology ranked number 11 in U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 Best Medical Schools specialty ranking.
Women & Infants has been designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiography; a Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology; Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence in Perinatal Biology and in Reproductive Health by the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and a Neonatal Resource Services Center of Excellence. It is one of the largest and most prestigious research facilities in high risk and normal obstetrics, gynecology, and newborn pediatrics in the nation, and is a member of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Maternal Fetal Medicine Units Network, Neonatal Research Network, and Pelvic Floors Disorders Network, as well as the National Cancer Institute’s Gynecologic Oncology Group.
About Mother’s Milk Bank Northeast
Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast is a nonprofit community milk bank accredited by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA). The milk bank has been screening donors, pasteurizing milk, and dispensing to over 90 hospitals and to families throughout the Northeastern United States since 2011. Families and healthcare providers seeking more information on receiving or donating milk can check the milk bank’s website at https://milkbankne.org/.
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