UC San Diego held a drive Wednesday to collect badly needed mothers’ milk donations.
UCSD Health and the San Jose Mothers’ Milk Bank collected human milk that can be used in the care of premature babies. According to UCSD Health, the usual recipients of banked human milk are infants with very low birth weight — less than 3.3 pounds — or infants with an intestinal injury.
Research shows that breast milk empties from the stomach faster, matures the intestines and results in less feeding problems than formula. Infants who are breastfed have less necrotizing enterocolitis and other life-threatening infections, and they tend to go home faster from the hospital and have improved developmental outcomes, according to UCSD Health.
“Mothers’ milk versus formula is far superior in preventing serious infection and inflammation in vulnerable premature infants,” said Dr. Lisa Stellwagen, a professor of clinical pediatrics.
“Yet, the current demand for donated milk is outstripping supply, which is why we need help from local mothers to donate,” Stellwagen said. “Mothers who donate at this event will be providing a lifesaving gift to our region’s tiniest babies.”
UCSD Health said mothers can become registered donors after they fill out a questionnaire and undergo a blood test.
The San Diego Mothers’ Milk Bank, established by the Division of Neonatology at UC San Diego Health, is a collaboration with the San Jose Mothers’ Milk Bank and San Diego Blood Bank.
The organization plans to collect and provide donor milk to local hospitals for infants who need it the most.
The bank will also aim to work with community partners to improve area breastfeeding education and awareness regarding the need for donations of excess milk, as many mothers with excess milk know very little about milk donation, according to UCSD Health