New breast milk collection site to help NICU babies

Published: Dec. 30, 2021 at 4:47 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 30, 2021 at 6:22 PM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A new breast milk donation collection site will help provide breast milk for NICU babies at St. Bernards.

St. Bernards recently opened the first breast milk collection site in Jonesboro, through Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas.

Lactation specialist Sherry Rickard said right now, they order around 100 bottles of milk from the milk bank for their NICU babies every month, and donor milk is very important for premature babies.

“They need the donor milk because it’s a human milk protein, it’s much easier to digest. And studies show that it just helps with preventing a lot of the illnesses that are associated with prematurity,” said Rickard.

Just one ounce of donor milk can feed three premature babies.

Rickard said St. Bernards has worked to get a donation collection site in the area for almost two years.

The freezer for the donations is dedicated in memory of Kayla Grace Dunnam, the late daughter of one of St. Bernards NICU nurses, Sierra.

Sierra was the first to donate to the collection site.

Rickard said while most of their donors are mothers with extra milk to give, donating milk can also help mothers grieving the loss of a child.

“We do have a few that unfortunately have experienced the worst in pregnancy loss. And they have delivered a stillbirth or they have an infant death. And for those mothers part of the closure is to pump milk in memory of their child,” said Rickard.

All donors are screened and approved before their milk is accepted, and all donations must be frozen before donating.

Approved donors can drop off milk at St. Bernards pregnancy clinic on 4334 East Highland Drive, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Thursday.

If you’re interested in becoming a donor, you can stop by the pregnancy clinic for more information.

You can also call (817) 810-0071 or click here to learn more.

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