Solano County

Solano breast milk drive tops goal by gallons, not ounces

By From page A4 | August 15, 2014

15 human milk drive 1

Jamie Perro holds her daughter, Charlotte, while donating frozen breast milk during a human milk drive in Vacaville, Tuesday. (Courtesy photo)

FAIRFIELD — Solano County women who are breast-feeding their children topped by tenfold the goal this week for a three-day breast milk drive to help at-risk children from across the greater Bay Area.

“This has been a real success,” Alyssa Perry, a lactation consultant for Solano County’s Women, Infants and Children Program, said Thursday at the breast milk drive site on Courage Drive. “This week really blew away our expectations.”

Solano County WIC Supplemental Nutrition Program and Mothers’ Milk Bank, a San Jose-based nonprofit, came together for a breast milk drive this week across Solano County. The drive began Tuesday in Vacaville, moved Wednesday to Vallejo and ended Thursday in Fairfield.

The drive asks nursing mothers to donate any extra milk that they have to the Mothers’ Milk Bank, so that it can be given to at-risk infants, toddlers and even adults who are undergoing chemotherapy. The goal was to get 100 ounces of breast milk from the Fairfield, Vacaville and Vallejo sites.

They collected more than 1,000 ounces of milk, which is nearly eight gallons.

“Just three ounces of milk makes 12 meals for a premature baby,” Perry said.

Mother’s milk is critical to at-risk infants.

“Breast milk is the first defense against infections for babies,” Perry said. “A mother’s milk is always best for her child, but when her breast milk is not available, donor milk is second best. Sometimes mothers are not able to use their own milk for whatever reason. This is another option.”

The process of donating milk is simple: Call a toll-free number and give a brief medical history, complete the screening forms, which include a doctor’s prescription, and get a blood test.

“Once the donors are approved, they don’t have to undergo any more blood test,” said Yolanda Bryant, a certified lactation educator for WIC. “The milk is gathered and pooled with other donors’ milk. It is screened, pasteurized and then rescreened for safety.”

The milk is kept for six months,” Bryant said. After that, it is used for research.

“Parents can donate milk that has been refrigerated for six months,” Bryant said. “The whole process is free for the donor. This includes shipping, doctor’s signature, really everything.”

This week’s success may help establish a local site.

“The long-term goal of the Mother’s Milk Bank is to create a depot for dropping off in Solano County,” Perry said. “We are working on the idea, but nothing is solidified at this time.”

For more information on donating, call the Mother’s Milk Bank at 877-375-6645.

Reach Susan Hiland at 427-6981 or [email protected]

Susan Hiland

Susan Hiland

Susan graduated from Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon with a B.A. in Communications. She has eight years experience working for newspapers in Nebraska.

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