Tuesday, January 29, 2013

CoxHealth becomes first hospital in area to feed premature babies with donor breast milk

For Immediate Release
Jan. 29, 2012

A mother’s milk is full of the nutrients her baby needs to grow strong and healthy. But sometimes, complications can occur and new moms are unable to provide their babies with this important source of nourishment. In these situations, pasteurized donor breast milk can provide a new baby with necessary nutrition.

Last week, CoxHealth became the first hospital in the Springfield area to use pasteurized donor breast milk to care for a newborn. The milk is currently being used in the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to care for a prematurely born baby whose mother is unable to feed the baby.

“We’ve been working on this for several months,” says Dr. Ann Hilmo, a CoxHealth neonatologist. “Feeding donor breast milk to babies who can’t have their own mother’s milk is becoming the standard of care around the country.”

CoxHealth receives donor milk from the Saint Luke's Heart of America Mothers' Milk Bank in Kansas City. At the milk bank, donor milk is inspected and pasteurized to ensure safety, then frozen and distributed to participating hospitals.

It’s a feeding option designed to protect the health of fragile newborns, and is especially beneficial for premature infants, who are at greater risk for bowel problems, infection and other issues. Studies have shown that babies who are fed donor milk rather than formula spend less time in the hospital after birth, are less likely to suffer fatal conditions and are more likely to grow and thrive.

Says Dr. Hilmo: “Ideally, we want to start all babies with breast milk. But sometimes mom can’t feed baby, and donor milk becomes our best option.”

For more information, contact: Stacy Fender, media relations coordinator, at Stacy.Fender@coxhealth.com or (417) 269-4113.