TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Amid a widespread shortage of breast milk donations, Baycare Hospitals is partnering with Mother's Milk Bank of Florida to raise awareness and encourage moms with extra milk to donate.
St. Joseph's Women's Hospital in Tampa and Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater now have breast milk depot sites where breastfeeding mothers may drop off their frozen breast milk.
Normally, donors have to mail their frozen breast milk directly to Mother's Milk Bank of Florida in Orlando where it is pasteurized and processed for safety. Baycare Hospitals hopes to make the donation process easier by allowing them to drop it off locally.
"It's so convenient for the community, they can come, drop it off, and it will benefit the babies," said Marcia Schulz, RN, who runs the lactation department at St. Joseph's Women's Hospital.
According to Schulz, there is a great need for donor milk. Currently, breast milk donations are restricted for premature or sick babies in the NICU.
"Breast milk is a perfect infant nutrition, it's like a liquid gold," said Schulz.
While some new moms can produce just enough for their babies, others need more time, or simply can't. Schulz says that's why keeping hospital freezers stocked with breast milk can provide life-saving nourishment during the first critical days or weeks of life.
Winter Haven Women's Hospital in Polk County set up its deposit site in 2016.
New moms who are interested in donating must be first screened by Mothers' Milk Bank of Florida.
For more information about donating to a milk depot, call Mothers’ Milk Bank of Florida at 407-248-5050 to begin the screening process or visit MilkBankofFlorida.org for more information.