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Monadnock Community Hospital’s milk depot is up and running

  • Ashley Hill, an RN and lactation counselor at the Monadnock Community Hospital Birthing Suite, hands over bags of frozen breast milk to Birthing Suite RN Trish Harper-Lentricchia. Hill was one of the first donors to the recently established human milk depot at MCH, in partnership with Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin

  • Ashley Hill, an RN and lactation counselor at the Monadnock Community Hospital Birthing Suite, hands over bags of frozen breast milk to Birthing Suite RN Trish Harper-Lentricchia. Hill was one of the first donors to the recently established human milk depot at MCH, in partnership with Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Monadnock Community Hospital recently received its first delivery of breast milk from Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast to be used for babies who need supplemental feeding when at the hospital's Birthing Suite. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin

  • Kayla Jones and her five-week old daughter Cora enjoy a day at the family's Jaffrey home last week. Cora was the first recipient of donor breast milk at Monadnock Community Hospital's Birthing Suite, which formed a partnership with Mothers' Milk Bank Northeast in September. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin

  • Kayla Jones and her five-week old daughter Cora enjoy a day at the family's Jaffrey home last week. Cora was the first recipient of donor breast milk at Monadnock Community Hospital's Birthing Suite, which formed a partnership with Mothers' Milk Bank Northeast in September. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Kayla Jones and her five-week old daughter Cora enjoy a day at the family's Jaffrey home last week. Cora was the first recipient of donor breast milk at Monadnock Community Hospital's Birthing Suite, which formed a partnership with Mothers' Milk Bank Northeast in September. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Kayla Jones and her five-week old daughter Cora enjoy a day at the family's Jaffrey home last week. Cora was the first recipient of donor breast milk at Monadnock Community Hospital's Birthing Suite, which formed a partnership with Mothers' Milk Bank Northeast in September. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, November 06, 2018 10:57AM

One-month-old Cora Jones is the first baby to receive donor breast milk thanks to the hospital’s recently formed partnership with Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast.When Kayla Jones’s daughter Cora was just five-days old, the young mom had to bring her newborn back to the Monadnock Community Hospital Birthing Suite.

During a checkup with her pediatrician, it was determined that Cora was jaundice, and needed to be readmitted. While it only lasted 24 hours and Jones and Cora (born Sept. 27) are thriving since going home, the overnight stay was a big moment for the Birthing Suite staff. Cora was the first baby at the hospital to receive donor breast milk thanks to the hospital’s recently formed partnership with Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast. Treatment for Cora’s jaundice required her to be under the light and feed every two hours. 

“She took to it well,” Jones said. “I was pumping, but it wasn’t nearly enough, and it’s hard because you want to be the one to provide for your baby.”

Thanks to the new program, moms now have an option when it comes to their baby’s feeding needs. Gone are the days of strictly formula as a supplement, as the hospital is now not only a place where mother's can donate excess milk for the Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast, but also where new mom’s can get a little boost for their little ones.

“They brought it up as an option,” Jones said. “The last thing I wanted to do was supplement, but really I just wanted her to have enough to eat.”

Jones’s milk came in two days later and Cora is doing great now, gaining more than a pound since her return stay in early October. As for advice for new moms struggling with what to do?

“I’d just tell them to do it and don’t think too much about it. It takes a lot of stress away for a new mom,” Jones said. 

While Jones and Cora became the first mom and baby to benefit from the partnership between Monadnock Community Hospital and Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast, they are just one of many success stories thanks to the Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast program that was founded in 2006 and opened its doors in 2008. Monadnock became the fifth donation site in the state, and so far things have been going quite well.

“The word’s getting out there,” said Melody Moschan, director of the Birthing Suite. “Two years ago there were only a couple in New England, and now it’s definitely taken off in the state.”

Since the Monadnock Community Hospital milk depot officially opened on Sept. 6, they have received donations from four moms, including two repeat donors, totaling 1,280 ounces – including 630 so far in October. One of those moms is Ashley Hill, a registered nurse and lactation counselor at the Birthing Suite whose son, Beckett, recently turned one. Hill was influential in getting the milk depot open at the hospital, so it was little surprise that she became the first to bring her milk in to support the cause.

“It has been on the agenda for some time,” Moschan said.

While the donations are collected at the Birthing Suite, that milk is then sent to Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast in Massachusetts for processing. It is there, where the milk is strained, pasteurized and portioned into four-ounce bottles. It is then cooled, tested and frozen for distribution.

Maeve Bennett is one of those other three moms who has donated to the milk depot. Her second child Finley was born this summer has a medical condition that prevents him from breast feeding. So Bennett has been pumping since he was born and had a surplus of milk on hand.

“And I really believe in families having access to breast milk,” Bennett said.

During a visit with her midwife, Bennett, who is a nurse practitioner in the hospital’s network, was talking about her abundance of extra milk, and was told about the depot.

“It’s a supply and demand situation. I’m pumping more than he needs,” Bennett said.

The milk is most critically needed for babies in neonatal intensive care units around the state, those born hypoglycemic and premature. But like in the case of Jones and her new daughter, there are babies at hospitals throughout New Hampshire in need. That’s the exact reason why Monadnock now has milk from Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast on hand.

“A lot of moms in the community have been donating to other hospitals,” Hill said.

“The community is what inspired this,” Moschan said. “It gives people an opportunity to give back.”

They got their first order in a few weeks ago, a total of 80 ounces in 20 bottles. While it doesn’t seem like a lot, newborns need very little at each feeding, so one of those bottles can help supplement an entire 24-hour stay. The milk is shipped frozen with an expiration date of a year from its processing, and is kept frozen in the brand new specifically designed freezer. Once its thawed, the milk is good for 24 hours.

“We can call and have milk here within a day,” Hill said.

To donate, the process can take two to three weeks. There’s a 15-minute phone screening, some forms to fill out  and a blood test, which is paid for by Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast.

“They want to make sure everyone is healthy,” Hill said.

The milk must truly be extra, or cannot be used by your baby, and put in the freezer within 48 hours of being pumped.

“It was pretty simple,” Bennett said. “It didn’t go through my insurance at all and it hasn’t taken up much of my time at all.”

The minimum requirement for donation is 150 ounces, preferably frozen, although there is no minimum for bereaved donors.

“One ounce can be two to three meals for a preemie,” Hill said. “So they’re potentially helping a lot of babies.”

Babies can be readmitted to the Birthing Suite for up to 30 days, but that’s not the end of how the milk can help. There is a prescription process for those looking for supplemental milk.

In the past, they’ve gotten calls from parents wondering if it was OK to accept milk from another person, but they couldn’t legally give then an answer. Best judgment was usually what they told folks, but now they can offer another avenue.

“We’ve had a pretty good response in the community,” Hill said.

“This is such a great opportunity,” Bennett said. 

For more information, visit milkbankne.org.