OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Mothers’ Milk Bank will celebrate its first anniversary of providing pasteurized donor milk to Oklahomans with a reception Tuesday, Aug. 26, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The event will include a tour of the milk bank and a brief presentation about the organization’s first-year accomplishments. The public is invited to attend the event, which will be held at the milk bank at 901 N. Lincoln Blvd., Suite 330, in Oklahoma City.
“We are very proud of the rapid progress we have made in our first year of operations,” said Becky Mannel, executive director of the Oklahoma Mothers’ Milk Bank. “Much of that is due to the collaboration with and support from the Oklahoma Blood Institute and also to the almost 300 mothers who have generously taken time and energy to donate their own milk. Oklahomans should be proud that we were only the 13th accredited milk bank in the United States when we began dispensing pasteurized donor milk last year.”
In its first year, the Oklahoma Mothers’ Milk Bank has provided over 26,000 ounces of donor milk to six of the eight hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) in Oklahoma that provide care to critically ill and preterm infants. The use of human milk, in lieu of other nutritional methods, greatly increases the survivability and development of these babies.
“We help babies survive and thrive!” said Keri Hale, clinical director of the milk bank.
Milk donors undergo a strict screening process before their milk is accepted at the milk bank. Donated milk is pasteurized and lab tested before being distributed to local neonatal intensive care units. Some out-of-state hospitals also receive donor milk for their NICUs.
The Oklahoma Mothers’ Milk Bank is one of only 17 milk banks in North America that is a member of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America.
Oklahoma continues to rank well above the national average for infant mortality.
“Many of those deaths are due to Oklahoma’s high rate of preterm birth and babies born with complications,” Mannel said. “While breastfeeding is strongly recommended for all babies, it is even more critical that our sickest and smallest babies receive human milk feedings. And in many of these cases, the mother herself is sick or had pregnancy complications and may not be able to provide enough of her own milk. The Oklahoma Mothers’ Milk Bank was formed to help these babies survive and go home from the hospital in better health.”
For more information about the Oklahoma Mothers’ Milk Bank, visit www.okmilkbank.org. For more information about the milk bank’s first anniversary event, please call the milk bank at (405) 297-LOVE or email firstname.lastname@example.org.