Ochsner Baptist Opens Louisiana’s First Human Milk Bank

NEW ORLEANS – Ochsner Baptist – A Campus of Ochsner Medical Center – is pleased to celebrate the accreditation and opening of the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Louisiana at Ochsner Baptist. Mothers’ Milk Bank of Louisiana received accreditation by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) in early March making Louisiana the 22nd state in the United States to open a HMBANA approved human milk bank. The Milk Bank accepts donated human milk following a detailed screening process of a lactating woman. The milk is then given to infants who are born prematurely and are unfortunately unable to receive enough milk from their birth mother due to maternal conditions.

Infants born prematurely (three or more weeks before their due date) frequently require a hospital stay to continue to grow. Mothers’ milk is exceptionally beneficial for these preterm infants, as it contains numerous bioactive immune components, essential proteins and fats which are not present in commercially made formula. It is well known that infants offered human milk have a lower incidence of infection and feeding intolerances. Often mothers of preterm infants or multiples have difficulty providing enough milk for their babies. Donor milk provides life-saving nutrients to vulnerable newborns and reduces the rate of necrotizing enterocolitis, a deadly intestinal infection that afflicts low birth weight infants. Donated milk is pasteurized then cultured so that it is safe to offer to babies with specific medical needs.

Baptist Community Ministries and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation were drawn to the milk bank’s potential impact on vulnerable infants and provided critical planning grants. In addition, the Goldring Family Foundation, Junior League of New Orleans, and hundreds of generous individuals have contributed to make the vision a reality.

“The Mothers’ Milk Bank of Louisiana at Ochsner Baptist was but a dream that with the help of many has become a reality. If we wish to impact and decrease infant mortality in our state, then the ability to provide human milk for all babies in need is crucial,” said Harley Ginsberg, MD, Section Head of Neonatology and Medical Director of Neonatal Intensive Care at Ochsner Baptist. “Research has shown that our most vulnerable patients, critically ill newborns, benefit exponentially from mothers’ milk. The generous gift of donor milk has the ability to improve the outcome of these babies and shorten their hospitalization.”

The Mothers’ Milk Bank of Louisiana at Ochsner Baptist began as a depot site in December 2015, collecting donated human milk and sending it to the Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin, its HMBANA mentor. In 2017 alone, Louisiana’s three depot sites shipped over 55,000 oz. or approximately 429 gallons, to the Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin.

The Mothers’ Milk Bank of Louisiana at Ochsner Baptist now functions as a fully operational, not-for-profit human milk bank, meaning shipments no longer have to be sent to Austin for processing and distribution. The Milk Bank screens potential donors; receives, processes and pasteurizes donated milk; then distributes to hospitals for babies in need. Currently, the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Louisiana at Ochsner Baptist distributes the milk to Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) across the state with plans to expand the supply to critically ill, older infants across Louisiana.

Ochsner Baptist has provided quality healthcare to generations of families, a tradition that dates back to 1926. The Women’s Pavilion at Ochsner Baptist offers services including: OB/GYN clinics, Labor and Delivery, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Women’s Walk-In Clinic and Gynecologic Robotic Surgery, as well as having a Level IV NICU---the highest level designation recognized by the state of Louisiana and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Ochsner Baptist received international recognition as a Baby-Friendly Designated birth facility by Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. in November 2017. Ochsner Baptist is the only hospital in Orleans Parish to be honored as Baby-Friendly.

For more information about Ochsner Baptist or to make an appointment, please visit www.ochsner.org/baptist. For information on the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Louisiana at Ochsner Baptist, including how to donate milk or support the program, please click here.

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Ochsner Health System is Louisiana’s largest non-profit, academic, healthcare system. Driven by a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate, coordinated clinical and hospital patient care is provided across the region by Ochsner's 30 owned, managed and affiliated hospitals and more than 80 health centers and urgent care centers. Ochsner is the only Louisiana hospital recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a “Best Hospital” across four specialty categories caring for patients from all 50 states and more than 60 countries worldwide each year. Ochsner employs more than 18,000 employees and over 1,200 physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties, and conducts more than 700 clinical research studies. Ochsner Health System is proud to be a tobacco-free environment. For more information, please visit ochsner.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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