The Moore American

Features

July 10, 2013

Oklahoma milk bank gives ill infants a healthy start

(Continued)

MOORE —

All donors undergo an extensive screening process before dropping off frozen donations, including a preliminary questionnaire about the health of mother and baby and blood work processed by OBI. Donors must receive their physician’s approval to donate.

Hale said mothers donate out of the goodness of their hearts for a variety of reasons.

For Moore mother Jenny Potter, donating was a way to pay tribute to the short, 7-week life of a friend’s baby, Aiden Smith.

After Smith died July 16, 2012, from pertussis (whooping cough), Potter began pumping what would become a 173-ounce donation to the bank.

“It was cool because I knew as I was doing it — I knew it was too late for Aiden, there was nothing I could do for him, but there are other babies in the NICU and this could be a lifesaver for them,” Potter said.

Potter dropped off her donation Jan. 31, with her own baby, George, in tow.

Hale said the bank is in the process of establishing depots, or drop-off locations, throughout the state so mothers don’t have to drive to the bank location in Oklahoma City to deliver donations.

Those interested in donating milk, volunteering time or otherwise getting involved with the bank are encouraged to do so, Hale said.

For more information on the bank, visit okmilkbank.org or find them on Facebook.

History: The Oklahoma Mothers’ Milk Bank in Oklahoma City didn’t spring up overnight. From start to finish, the nonprofit agency is a decade in the making, said Becky Mannel, bank board of directors vice president.

Prior to the Oklahoma Mothers’ Milk Bank, the most proximal human milk bank was in north Texas. When it opened in 2003, Mannel said many mothers began donating breast milk through the University of Oklahoma Medical Center, where Mannel works as a lactation and breastfeeding health care professional.

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