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New partnership in Indiana making breast milk donations easier

Published On: Jun 24 2014 06:04:37 AM CDT   Updated On: Jun 24 2014 06:14:26 AM CDT

Moms who breast feed often jokingly call it liquid gold, but for some babies, you can't put a price on the benefits of breast milk.

Moms who breastfeed often jokingly call it liquid gold, but for some babies you can't put a price on the benefits of breast milk.

For premature babies, or sick, hospitalized babies, breast milk can be lifesaving. Unfortunately, not all moms are able to provide their milk.

That is why donated milk is so important. 

A new partnership in Indiana that will make donating breast milk easier. The Indiana Mothers Milk Bank is teaming up with the Indiana Blood Center.

Now, mom's can be screened and donate their milk at any Indiana Blood Center location.

It is one of the first partnerships of its kind in the nation and it will make donating milk more convenient for many moms around the state.

And that means more babies will get the benefits of breast milk. 

You wouldn't know it now, but 5-year-old Eleonora Gollner was a micro preemie, born 15 weeks early.

"It was 25 weeks, zero days," says her mom, Sarah. "When they are born that early every day counts."

And in the days and weeks that followed, it was life or death.

"Very quite scary. You don't know what to think," says Sarah. 

And while breast milk is healthy for every baby, for babies like Eleonora, it can be lifesaving.

Breast milk contains antibodies that boost babies immune systems, it helps develop their digestive systems and contains important nutrients to help them grow.

"For preemies there is more protein in it, which they need. And there is over 2,000 components to breast milk. It is an alive organism. It is in the same category as tissue. you are giving a live substance," says Cindy Werner, the NICU Lactation Consultant at Memorial Hospital.

That's why when moms can't provide breast milk for their babies, hospitals like Memorial rely on donated milk. 

The freezer at Memorial is full right now of donated milk that will eventually be shipped to Indianapolis to be pasteurized and bottled. 

Sarah was able to provide her own milk for Eleonora, but had she not been so lucky, donated milk would have been an option. Which is why after Eleonora was old enough, Sarah donated the rest of her frozen breast milk.

"I would be grateful for anyone's donated breast milk if I hadn't been able to pump. I would have been very grateful for anyone who would have done that for me," says Sarah.

To learn more about becoming a donor: