Sarasota Memorial has opened a second Milk Depot location at its SMH-Venice campus for local moms to donate their breast milk to struggling premature babies.
Sarasota Memorial established its first Milk Depot at its Sarasota campus in 2015 to enhance maternity care and work toward national Baby Friendly USA designation, which was achieved in 2018. So far in 2022, local women have donated more than 6,000 ounces of breast milk through Sarasota Memorial, bringing the total donated since the SMH Milk Depot's inception to more than 62,157 ounces. Both of SMH’s Milk Depots were established in association with the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Florida, which screens mothers using a voluntary process similar to blood donations, and is the only one of its kind in the state. The not-for-profit Milk Bank analyzes the milk of approved donors for calorie and protein content and then pasteurizes it to kill any viruses or bacteria. It then tests the milk to ensure it’s free of contaminates before deep freezing and distributing it to hospitalized babies who are in need.
Typically, only babies weighing less than 3 pounds will meet the criteria for donated breast milk. They may need that milk for most of their stay in a hospital’s intensive care nursery, which could be months, or just a few days until their mothers begin producing their own milk. Every 3 ounces can make up to nine meals or more for a premature baby. There is no cost or compensation to moms to donate their milk. Mothers’ Milk Bank sells the milk to hospitals to cover distribution and basic costs. For more information, click here.