ColumbiaDoctors Midtown Joins New York Milk Bank
Pasteurized human breast milk can save the most vulnerable lives. Premature and sick infants are especially in need, notes the New York Milk Bank (NYMB). ColumbiaDoctors Midtown is one of two depot sites in Manhattan that safely collect and route donated human breast milk to NYMB, which opened its doors in September 2016 in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., and distributes the milk to mothers and their infants throughout New York State.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 10 infants was born prematurely in the United States in 2015. Research has shown that pasteurized breast milk provides the best nutrition and helps to prevent necrotizing enterocolitis, an intestinal infection that is common in premature infants.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends giving pasteurized donor breast milk to premature infants when a mother’s breast milk is unavailable. To meet this need, NYMB estimates that 200,000 ounces of pasteurized donor human milk are needed per year to feed premature infants in the state.
Following Thanksgiving 2016, ColumbiaDoctors Midtown received its first donation—an 800-ounce supply—and promptly sent it to NYMB. Lauren Levine, MD, assistant clinical professor of pediatrics, oversees milk bank donations at ColumbiaDoctors Midtown, which is located near Rockefeller Center, at 51 West 51st Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues). The project is especially important to Dr. Levine because she saw firsthand the devastating effects of necrotizing enterocolitis on small babies after completing her pediatric residency and working as a house physician in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. Premature infants continue to hold a special place in her heart.
All breast milk collected at ColumbiaDoctors Midtown is thoroughly screened in accordance with standards from the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. Donors complete verbal and written questionnaires and blood tests for HIV and other infectious diseases. In addition, donors and their babies must receive medical clearance from their health care providers. Next, the milk is pasteurized to destroy bacteria and viruses, and tested to ensure safety.
For more information about the New York Milk Bank, visit nymilkbank.org. To learn about all ColumbiaDoctors Children’s Health services, visit ColumbiaChildrensHealth.org. If you’re interested in donating breast milk to ColumbiaDoctors Midtown, contact NYMB at 212-956-MILK.