Methodist Hospitals works with donors of all kinds. Organ and tissue donations receive a lot of attention through events such as April’s Donate Life month. On Wednesday, Methodist Hospitals teamed up with its partner, the Milk Bank, to educate medical professionals on a lesser known, but just as important, type of donation – breast milk.
In December of 2016, Methodist Hospitals partnered with the Milk Bank, a nonprofit network based out of Indianapolis that has dispensed over 1.5 million ounces of milk since its foundation in 2005. The partnership allowed Methodist to establish its Northlake Campus as a milk collection depot, where women can donate extra breast milk to be processed by the Milk Bank.
“All infants need access to safe human milk,” said Sarah Long, Director of Clinical Operation at the Milk Bank. “Coming into communities and education about what we do at the Milk Bank, and raising awareness and education health professionals who are treating and looking after patients and mothers helps towards reducing infant mortality.”
According to Methodist’s Northlake Lactation Consultant Kim Sausman, RN, breastfeeding is a new idea in Northwest Indiana. The benefit of the event was not just educating the hospital’s professionals, but community at large.
“In this area we don’t have many mothers who just in general accept the idea of breastfeeding,” said Susman. “The coolest part of it is that we invited others and other partnerships to come and listen and get educated. I’m getting chills I’m so excited about all of it! I’m sorry, I’m a nerd – a breastfeeding nerd!”
The presentation also touched on a more delicate issue, bereaved mothers. The presentation taught how grief can be channeled into healing for mothers who have lost their babies by providing milk that can help save the lives of infants in the NICU. The turnaround on donations can be as short as a day, meaning that every donation Methodist receives can help save a life on the line.