By: Lauren Macaluso, MD, FAAP, FABM, IBCLC. Breastfeeding Medicine (New Hyde Park, NY)
Did you know an estimated 15 million babies are born too early every year, equaling more than 1 in 10 babies? These infants face significant health challenges including increased risk of necrotizing enterocolitis, a serious intestinal disease that can be fatal. Human milk provides health benefits for all newborns and is especially important for high risk very low birth weight infants. Human milk has been found to decrease the rate of necrotizing enterocolitis.
Breastfeeding and human milk are the normal standards for infant feeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement on Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk states, “The potent benefits of human milk are such that all preterm infants should receive human milk. If mother’s own milk is unavailable despite lactation support, pasteurized donor milk should be used.” Accessibility to donor milk in the U.S. is limited in terms of supply, cost and distribution.
The Allied Foundation is playing an essential role in this process. The Foundation has helped to establish three milk depots for the New York Milk Bank. The New York Milk Bank collects milk from carefully screened donors, pasteurizes it, and distributes it to infants in New York State and the surrounding area. Milk depots are locations where screened mothers can call ahead and drop off milk which is then shipped to the Milk Bank for processing and distribution.
Allied Physicians Group has three milk depot locations. Macaluso Medical in New Hyde Park, Peconic Pediatrics in Riverhead and Kenneth Zatz Pediatrics in Nyack. We are filled with pride as our milk depots have collected a total of 34,579 ounces since inception in February 2016. This equates to roughly 10,479 bottles of 100 ml donor milk going out to hospital NICUs and in need outpatients.
We have found our donors to be filled with pride at drop off and we feel this as well, as we are helping infants to get the best start in life.
On an additional note, congratulations to Allied’s Dr. Lisa Visentin for co-authoring “Breastfeeding: Uncovering Barriers and Offering Solutions”, which was recently published in the journal, Current Opinion in Pediatrics. The Allied Breastfeeding Team is here to help you meet your personal breastfeeding goals.