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Breastfeeding Hawai‘i Launches Human Milk Project

May 13, 2019, 9:55 AM HST (Updated May 13, 2019, 9:55 AM)
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Breastfeeding Hawai‘i reports the initial phase in opening a donor human milk bank in Hawai‘i is underway with the selection of Mother’s Milk, LLC in Kamuela and Waimānalo Health Center in Waimānalo, as the first donor human milk shipping supply sites. Both locations anticipate having shipping supplies ready for distribution by June 30, 2019.  Interested in being a milk depot or shipping supply site? Applications are open through July 1, 2019, and are open to any hospital, clinic or business in the state who supports breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Hawai‘i, the state breastfeeding coalition and affiliate to the United States Breastfeeding Committee, is dedicated to protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding around the state. The nonprofit organization works to normalize breastfeeding, breast milk as keiki’s first food, and increase access to lactation support services. Breastfeeding Hawai‘i, in partnership with Mothers’ Milk Bank of San Jose, which is a member of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, is implementing Phase 1: establishing donor human milk sites in Hawai‘i so that mothers have a place to donate their extra breast milk. Donated human milk is shipped to San Jose where it is tested, pasteurized and then provided to medically fragile infants through hospital or healthcare provider orders as a supplement to the infant’s own mother’s milk. Currently two NICUs in Hawaiʻi order donor human milk for infants with certain medical conditions. In the future, Breastfeeding Hawaiʻi plans to become a distributor and then eventually open their own donor human milk bank within Hawaiʻi to serve the community needs.

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“Mothers often contact us to ask where they can donate their breast milk,” says Leʻa Minton, board president of Breastfeeding Hawai‘i. “Families recognize the importance of breast milk and want to give it to other families when they have extra, they don’t want it to go to waste. There are mom to mom milk sharing groups in Hawai‘i, which play an important role in our community. Tested and pasteurized milk is also critical for infants who are medically fragile; we need both models of milk donation available. We believe every keiki should have access to breast milk.”

Check out Breastfeeding Hawaiʻi for more information about donor breast milk, applications and updates. Interested in being a donor? Call Mothers’ Milk Bank in San Jose at (877) 375-6645 for a brief interview.

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