Community Partnership, News and Events
New mother's milk donation depots at M Health Fairview hospitals will help Minnesota's tiniest patients
Moms who want to help premature or medically vulnerable babies can now drop off mother's milk donations at two of our hospitals. Find out how our new collection process works.
- January 06, 2021
- By Staff Writer
Moms: Want to help babies born prematurely or with a critical illness?
Four M Health Fairview hospitals are now accepting donations of frozen mother’s milk as part of our partnership with the nonprofit Minnesota Milk Bank for Babies.
Our current depot locations include:
- M Health Fairview Northland Medical Center
- M Health Fairview Southdale Hospital
- M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital
- M Health Fairview Woodwinds Hospital
Why is donated mother’s milk important for our community? Is donation safe? We’ve compiled some frequently asked questions about mother’s milk and how donating can help moms and babies in need. If you are interested in donating, or learning more about our screening process, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 612-672-4122.
Why do some babies need donated mother's milk?
Human milk is the best source of nutrition for most babies. It can protect them from infections, boosts development, and decreases the risk of chronic conditions like asthma, type 1 diabetes, and obesity well beyond infancy. Some mothers may need a bridge until their own milk supply increases or have medical issues resulting in low milk supply. Some babies who are born prematurely, diagnosed with a critical illness, or who have allergies may be unable to access their mother’s milk or tolerate formula. In those instances, pasteurized donor human milk is the next best option. One ounce of donor milk can feed an infant in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for an entire day.
How does the donation process work?
If you would like to donate mother’s milk, follow these steps:
- Visit the Donate page on the Minnesota Milk Bank for Babies website if you are interested in donating and have extra milk. Then, email the milk bank at email@example.com or 763-546-8051 to set up a brief phone interview.
- Following the interview, you’ll complete a private screening questionnaire about your overall health, medical history, medication use, and other topics.
- Once the questionnaire has been approved, Minnesota Milk Bank for Babies will make arrangements with you to undergo a blood test for infectious disease.
- If you pass the blood test, you’ll receive a donor number and detailed instructions on how to hygienically collect, handle, and store your donor milk.
- Approved donors can their extra milk to one of our participating M Health Fairview hospitals or other official depot sites. To make donation arrangements with us, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 612-672-4122.
Where does the mother’s milk go after it is donated?
Your donation will be temporarily stored in safe medical-grade freezers equipped with temperature tracking devices. Eventually, all of the frozen milk collected at our four donation sites is transported to the nonprofit Minnesota Milk Bank for Babies. There, donations from our sites and several others are collected, pooled, and pasteurized for use. The milk is then dispensed to premature and medically vulnerable babies in hospitals in Minnesota – including families receiving care in M Health Fairview facilities. Donated mother’s milk is used primarily in our NICUs to support babies while they wait for mom’s milk to come in and for babies whose moms cannot breastfeed. When there is a surplus available, it can be purchased by other families in the community who can’t breastfeed or need milk as they try to get breastfeeding underway.
Currently, inpatient donor milk is available at several hospitals within our system. Outpatient donor milk can be obtained by home delivery. In-person pickup is also available at our M Health Fairview Specialty Pharmacy location at 711 Kasota Ave. SE. in Minneapolis.
Is it safe to donate and use donated mother’s milk during the COVID-19 pandemic?
It is safe to deliver donations at our hospital sites. M Health Fairview has developed curbside donation drop-off procedures to protect you and other members of our community from infection. Our safe, touchless process includes a universal masking requirement for all staff and visitors. Donations are placed directly into insulated bags to minimize person-to-person contact.
Researchers do not yet know if COVID-19 can be transmitted via mother’s milk, but limited data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that this is not likely. In fact, breast milk provides protection against many illnesses and infections. Donors are screened for potential diseases – including COVID-19 – by the Minnesota Milk Bank for Babies prior to approval. In addition to the screening process, donated mother’s milk is pasteurized, tested, and safely frozen before being redistributed to babies and families, which virtually eliminates the chance of disease transmission.