Emerson Hospital Now Accepts Breast Milk Donations

It opened an on-site milk depot on Thursday.

Emerson Hospital

Emerson Hospital milk depot/Photo by Tony Rinaldo

If you want to donate blood, you don’t have to look far for a place to do so. For moms who want to donate breast milk, however, resources are few and far between.

Emerson Hospital is adding one more to the list. Its first-ever “milk depot” opens Thursday, and will serve Mothers Milk Bank Northeast (MMBNE). The organization has facilitated the donation process around New England for years, but it has only a few milk depots of its own in Massachusetts.

“Two years ago we partnered with Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast to offer pre-screened donated human milk to newborns who need it,” explains Joanna Vallie, Emerson’s director of maternity, in a statement. “We are very pleased to extend our partnership with MMBNE and become a milk depot to make it easier for donors to help babies who need breast milk to thrive.”

Though it flies largely under the radar, donating breast milk is actually a fairly common practice. Roughly 2 percent of women physically can’t breastfeed, while others simply find it difficult to nurse or are limited by socioeconomic or health factors. And for the children of those women—as well as those born premature or with congenital health problems—milk donated by healthy mothers with an excess supply can be invaluable.

Emerson’s depot will accept samples from screened milk donors—mothers must be given a clean bill of health before they can provide milk—and then pass them along to MMBNE. From there, MMBNE ensures that the samples are tested and pasteurized before they go to babies.

Having a drop-off center on-site will make it far easier for Emerson patients and women in the community to donate their milk, says MMBNE Executive Director Naomi Bar-Yam. “The new depot at Emerson Hospital makes it more convenient for mothers to donate their milk and provides an opportunity for them to share information about this unique, lifesaving gift,” she says.

For more information on donating milk, click here.