Posted: Nov 12, 2012 9:26 PM by Rosa Flores
Updated: Nov 13, 2012 5:27 PM
BATON ROUGE - Most people have heard about human blood banks and human organ banks; but have you heard about human breast milk banks? Human breast milk banks are real. And they are helping save lives in Louisiana.
At Woman's Hospital in Baton Rouge, 60 percent of mothers who deliver premature babies breastfeed, which means 40 percent of those moms don't breastfeed. Human breast milk is important to the nutrition and the survival of a premature baby because it helps them fight against disease and helps them develop properly.
Louisiana doesn't have human breast milk banks. The closest bank is in Texas.
Human breast milk can not be bought and sold freely. Doctors prescribe the milk to premature babies; preferably on day one of life. The milk is shipped from human breast milk banks in other states. Human breast milk banks screen and test the milk to make sure that it is healthy. The donor mother does not get paid for her donation. The milk is shipped to hospitals frozen. Once at the hospital, the milk is thawed, refrigerated and then warmed up for premature babies. Most prescriptions are for a month.
Right now, employees at Woman's Hospital are subsidizing the human breast milk program. Find out how that works and how you can help, Tuesday on WBRZ News 2 at 4pm.