Rhode Island Medical Journal |Healthcare Article
This May, Kent Hospital’s Women’s Care Center launched the first pasteurized donor human milk program in the state. This program supports breastfeeding families by allowing them the option of providing their infant with pasteurized donor human milk, if supplementation is needed, as a bridge until a mother’s own milk is available.
Exclusive breast milk feeding is considered a public health imperative by multiple professional organizations. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), it is recommended that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months with continued breastfeeding alongside the introduction of appropriate complementary foods for one year or longer.
Kristine Rimbos, MS, RNC-OB, interim director at the Women’s Care Center at Kent said, “We are thrilled to offer donor milk as a safe, evidence-based alternative that supports our breastfeeding families. The nursing and medical team at Kent is committed to supporting feeding choices and ensuring high quality outcomes. This program is a win-win for our community and the patients that we serve.”
On Monday, May 6, the first infant received pasteurized donor human milk at Kent Hospital. Prior to being discharged home, the infant received donor milk for a total of three days, in addition to nursing, and the mother was encouraged to pump in order to maximize her own milk production.
The donor milk comes from Mother’s Milk Bank Northeast, the premier non-profit milk bank in the Northeast. Mother’s Milk Bank carefully screens all their donors, who are mothers with excess pumped breast milk, to share with other infants. The milk is then carefully processed, tested, and distributed to hospitals and families in need.
Susan Bryant, MSN, RN, IBCLC, lactation consultant at the Women’s Care Center at Kent, said, “Kent Hospital’s commitment to a pasteurized donor human milk program, as a bridge to exclusive breastfeeding, will help our postpartum mothers achieve their breastfeeding goals, and ensure that our babies get off to their best start. Since our first recipient, two other families have been able to benefit from our donor milk program, and we anticipate many more in the future. Our families have been extremely thankful for this option, which allows them to provide their infant with an exclusive breast
milk diet, when supplementation is necessary.”
Offering pasteurized donor human milk will further support breastfeeding mothers by increasing their confidence and helping them to achieve their breastfeeding goals. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NIHCD) lists numerous benefits of exclusive breast milk feeding, such as essential nutrition, protection against common childhood infections, reduced risk for certain allergic diseases and asthma, childhood obesity, and type 2 diabetes. It also may help improve an infant’s cognitive