LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- Oklahoma has one of the highest rates of preterm births in the nation, with one in seven babies born prematurely each year. Breast milk greatly improves the health and growth of these babies, and now with the help of the Oklahoma Mother’s Milk Bank, mother’s in southwest Oklahoma, who may have trouble breastfeeding, can now get the help they need.
For the past month, Comanche County Memorial Hospital has been working with the Oklahoma Mother’s Milk Bank to provide pasteurized donor breast milk for babies in this part of the state.
“We wanted to continue to provide babies and mothers the best start at life. Which include helping babies if mothers have chosen to breast feed continue to breast feed in the hospital. And as a bridge or a medical necessity to offer them pasteurized donor milk versus formula to be able to help keep their baby healthy,” Copass explained.
Kate Copass, a registered nurse at CCMH and an international board certified lactation consultant, says the donor milk is only offered to patients at the hospital. The breast milk is pasteurized, tested and frozen until prescribed. Copass says the process is very simple and safe.
“I know some families might be a little concerned about receiving another mothers breast milk, but again the screening process is very thorough and moms that are donating are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts to be able to help other babies,” Copass said.
Copass says she knows firsthand how the process works since she could donate her breast milk after having her second child.
“”It was very simple. The staff at the milk bank were very nice. They answered all my questions and it was a very easy process. We as mothers we want to be able to take care of our baby, and also most mothers would generously love to be able to help other mothers succeed in breast feeding,” said Copass. “It’s definitely very rewarding to be able to help another mother out if she has a sick baby, or just needing to kind of help bridge the gap until the mom’s milk is in.”
Research has shown that a mother’s milk contains a unique and powerful combination of nutrients important for infant health. It supports growth and development as well as boosts the baby’s ability to fight infection. Copass hopes to encourage mothers to understand the options available to them, and also to think about donating themselves.
“We feel that breast milk is definitely the best nutrition for a baby and if you have any extra breast milk available, that maybe your baby is not going to use in that first year of life,” Copass expressed. “You can contact us here at the lactation resource center and we will make an appointment for you to come and donate your breast milk to us.”
If mothers or families have any questions about donating breast milk or curious about what pasteurized donor breast milk is, you can call the infant feeding resource center at CCMH at 580-250-5253. Or you can visit the Oklahoma Mother’s Milk Bank’s website at OKmilkbank.org.
For MedWatch 7, I’m Makenzie Burk.
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