Mom pays it forward by donating breast milk
5/18/2020 by Natalie Mohammad, APRN, CNP
When Natalie Mohammad's daughter Safia was born six weeks premature, she required a feeding tube so she could gain strength and coordination before nursing on her own. But Natalie's milk hadn't come in yet, so the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) turned to donated breast milk.
"It was wonderful," she says. "She needed donor breast milk for nine to 10 days, every three hours around the clock." As soon as she could, Natalie, a nurse practitioner in Community Internal Medicine in Primary Care in Rochester/Kasson, began pumping and then her own milk was used to feed Safia.
Once Safia was able to stay awake long enough, Natalie would breast feed her, but she was so small that she only needed a small portion of what Natalie was producing every day. So, Mom continued pumping and freezing her excess supply. "I had a big stash in the freezer that I didn't need," Natalie says. "She preferred mom and wouldn't take a bottle, so I decided to donate the surplus to the Breast Milk Depot at Primary Care Southeast Clinic."
Natalie found the process "Super easy. Once you go through the screening process, they supply you with instructions on how to store your milk, containers for freezing and labels. You take it right to the clinic. The nurses were always very sweet and thanked me every time."
Now two, Safia is healthy and thriving, thanks to the start she got from donated breast milk. "If you have extra milk, instead of letting it go to waste, think about donating it," Natalie says. "It goes to a good place and helps premature babies just like Safia."
The Breast Milk Depot at Mayo Family Clinic Southeast in Rochester is still accepting donations during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you're a lactating mother who has extra milk or have experienced the loss of a child and are interested in donating, here's how:
- Set up a verbal interview by contacting the donor coordinator, Heidi Baudhuin, by email or by phone (1-877-891-5347).
- Fill out a written questionnaire; there also will be a form for your health care provider to complete.
- Arrange for a blood test. You'll receive a screening kit in the mail. You'll need to take it to Mayo Family Clinic Southeast to have your blood drawn. Please call the clinic at 507-293-8590 to find out how blood tests are being handled.
- You blood will be screened for HIV, hepatitis B and C, HTLV and syphilis.
- If you qualify to donate, congratulations! When you're ready to make a donation, call 507-293-8590 and ask for the charge nurse at the Southeast Clinic before dropping off your milk to make sure someone will be available to accept it. Drop-off hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Thank you for your part in giving babies like Safia the best start in life possible.