Did you know that just three ounces of breastmilk can provide up to 12 feedings for a premature baby?
Each year in recognition of World Breastfeeding Week, Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns hosts a donor milk drive to support the health of their patients in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
While studies have shown that breastmilk provides a lifetime of health benefits for all babies, it is especially important for babies in the NICU as it serves as vital medicine to help fight infection and promote growth and development in premature infants.
In an effort to make breastmilk readily available to all babies in need, Sharp Mary Birch has partnered with the San Jose Mothers' Milk Bank to facilitate donations from nursing mothers who have an excess supply.
Sharp HealthCare employee and donor mom, Jen Wojciechowski, has a daughter who spent time in the Sharp Mary Birch NICU, and understands how crucial breastmilk is for premature babies.
“My daughter Lucy was born at 27 weeks,” says Wojciechowski. “Because she was so premature, she was not able to breastfeed on her own in the beginning. While I was unable to nurse her right away, I understood the nutritional and medicinal value breastmilk has for premature babies and continued to pump daily to build up a large supply.”
Wojciechowski explains that because Lucy was so tiny while she was in the NICU, she was unable to consume all of the milk that was pumped. Donating her excess milk proved to be a great way to both ensure none of it went to waste and also to give back to other families in need.
"In general, having a sick infant makes you feel powerless as a parent. Continuing to pump and eventually donating my excess milk was something I felt I could actively do to make a difference for both my daughter and other babies in similar situations," says Wojciechowski.
Learn more about the breast-milk donor program at Sharp HealthCare.
For the news media: To talk with a Sharp Mary Birch expert for an upcoming story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.