Mother donates 14 gallons of breast milk to babies born premature.

Almost one in 10 babies in the US are born premature and may require a stay in the NICU.

Often, mothers are unable to produce the volume of breast milk for their baby in the first week, making donated breast milk so important.

It takes six coolers and a rolling cart to transport 14 gallons of breast milk.

“It was actually 1,800 ounces — so they were all six ounce bags and there’s about 300 of them,” said Amanda Lanners, a mom to four.

Lanners is donating her breast milk for the first time and dropping it off at the Avera Milk Collection Depot in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

“When I am able to make as much or make more than what we need, then I want to do my part and help out that mommy who doesn’t need to stress about making sure that her baby is going to get something nutritious,” said Lanners.

“Where it goes from here is it is processed, tested, pasteurized by a milk bank and the one we work with is the Mother’s Milk Bank of Iowa at the University of Iowa,” said Lynn Josten, registered nurse and international board certified lactation consultant at Avera McKennan.

From there, the breast milk is distributed mostly to hospitals. Avera McKennan receives weekly shipments of pasteurized and processed frozen breast milk. Having it on hand at all times is critical for the tiniest of patients.

“It’s very important because if we have a baby born at a very low birth weight or a baby with a need that mom can’t supply milk right away, then we have that right away. The intestinal system is huge for the immunity of an individual and if we change that with artificial milk in that first 24 hours, especially for a very vulnerable infant, then we’ve really changed that for probably up to two weeks time. So we really try to keep that human milk be the first feedings as much as we possibly can,” said Josten.

“To have such a nutritious food for those babies that can help them grow and thrive and get healthy, it’s just extremely personally satisfying,” said Lanners.

NICU babies eat less than an ounce at a time, so Lanner’s donation will go a long way.

“Fourteen gallons is going to translate to about 1,800 ounces so that’s going to give a lot of babies a lot of support. Well over 2,000 babies will get some help because of that donation,” said Josten.

Both Avera McKennan in Sioux Falls and Avera St. Luke’s have milk collection depots. There is a screening process before you can donate.

For more information just call 877-AT-AVERA.


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