Community Impact Publication 2020


Donor Milk Program launches at Great Plains Health

In August 2020, the Donor Human Milk Program launched at Great Plains Health. “You won’t find another program like this within a 100-mile radius,” said Serena Findley, Great Plains registered nurse and lactation consultant. “There is a great need in the area for this service.” Breastmilk donation comes from Mother’s Milk Bank in Denver. Milk is donated from women in good health who pass through a medical screening. The Milk Bank works under regulations from the FDA, CDC and American Pediatric Association. Once the milk has been pasteurized, it is sent to Great Plains Health. The milk is then used to feed babies in the NICU or newborns whose mothers are struggling with milk production. “Our goal is to make sure mothers don’t feel as if they have failed at breastfeeding” said Findley. “In one situation, we had a mother who initially used donor milk to supplement, but by the time she was released from the hospital, her milk had come in and she was able to feed her baby without any supplementation.”

“If a mother chooses to breastfeed, we want to give her the tools to accomplish that,” said Findley. “It doesn’t always come easily, and can take time. By adding the breast milk donation program, we are offering more options. Our main goal is to have both mother and baby healthy and happy.” Benefits of breastfeeding for infants: Protects infants against respiratory tract infections, otitis media, urinary tract infections, diarrhea, necrotizing enterocolitis, diabetes, lymphoma, leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease, allergies, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), obesity and celiac disease (AAP, 2014). Benefits of breastfeeding for mothers: • Decreased risk of ovarian and breast cancers, lower risk of postpartum hemorrhage and quicker return of pre-pregnancy weight (AAP, 2014). • Reduction in maternal high blood pressure and Type 2 Diabetes (CDC, 2019). • Reduction of heart disease and obesity (Medela, 2019).

“If amother chooses to breastfeed, we want to give her the tools to accomplish that.”

The program is free to all patients, thanks to grants provided by the Great Plains Health Care Foundation and HERO club.

“Since its launch, we have seen exciting progress,” said Findley. “Prior to the introduction of the program, our exclusive breastfeeding/breast milk rate was 40-50 percent. Currently our rates are 70-80 percent.”

- SerenaFindley RegisteredNurse and Lactation Consultant at Great PlainsHealth

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