The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), the South Carolina Birth Outcomes Initiative (SCBOI), the South Carolina Neonatology Consortium and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) have teamed up to open South Carolina’s first mother’s milk bank to improve the health of the state’s most vulnerable infants.
MUSC spokeswoman Heather Woolwine told South Carolina Radio Network it’s a way to get mother’s milk to the sickest babies across the state. “Donor milk from nursing moms who sometimes have excess milk, with the intent of that milk going to the pre-term babies here in our state.”
Woolwine said there is a screening procedure for participating mothers. “Some of the donor qualifications are, there’s a phone screening process once you register through the website.” For more information about the Mother’s Milk Bank of South Carolina and how you can help, visit www.scmilkbank.org.
The milk will be shared among infants at five regional hospitals that have a NICU: Greenville Health System, McLeod Health Hospital (Florence), MUSC (Charleston), Palmetto Health Richland (Columbia) and Spartanburg Regional Hospital. It will also be available to level II hospitals in our state when caring for very preterm infants born before 34 weeks gestational age.
Physically located in North Charleston, the milk bank, accredited by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America as a developing milk bank, will be operated by MUSC. Mothers will be able to donate breast milk already at 10 satellite milk bank depots around the state with seven more depots to open in the next few months. The average baby in the NICU needs 8 ounces of milk per day. MMBSC expects to process and distribute more than 5,000 ounces of milk each month.