‘Every ounce needed’: CHKD seeking breast milk donations for critically ill infants amid COVID-19 outbreak

Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — As we continue to fight coronavirus and try to prevent the spread, the attention of one organization in Norfolk is focused on the smallest, most fragile lives — babies in the NICU.

Those who run The King’s Daughters Milk Bank at CHKD says they have no supply problems right now, but because of COVID-19 they want to be proactive.

The milk that is donated to the milk bank either stays local, or is shipped to some of the sickest babies in NICUs across the country. They are looking for healthy, lactating mothers, who produce more than what is needed for their own baby.

It takes roughly 20 minutes a day to pump for preemies and then store the milk for donation.

“This milk is not only going to help babies through the pandemic, but this milk will also be incredibly important to the healing and the treatments needed after we come through and after we beat this disease,” says Ashlynn Baker who is the manager of The King’s Daughters Milk Bank at CHKD.

“Pasteurized donor human milk, your donated milk, makes a huge impact on the lives of these infants,” said Baker explaining how how breast milk makes a difference in the lives of so many people. “It brings relief to healthcare providers who prescribe this as a medical treatment for infants, but also brings relief to their parents who are literally holding vigil over their incubators every day, praying that their infant survives.”

“Your milk is life saving for these infants, decreases the risk of blindness, lung disease, bowel disease, heart disease, and so much more.”

Baker says it is easy to get started. “Call 757-668-MILK and start the screening process. The steps are simple. The first thing we do is a phone interview that takes roughly 10-15 minutes. The second step is the online questionnaire that you would complete at your own convenience, and the last step is a very quick triage blood draw to test for diseases that could be transmitted through breast milk.”

Once those results are back, Baker says they can ship volunteers a cooler. They pay and arrange for the frozen milk to be delivered from your home directly to the milk bank.

“Each and every ounce milk needed for the nation’s most critically ill infants.”


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