There are now about 25 milk banks around the United States, and Catholic Charities is involved with two in Connecticut:
Jamie McCann, of Norwich, brought her 1-year-old son Hayes along as she donated the first batch of breast milk to Catholic Charities on Thursday.
The more than 120 ounces of pumped milk was quickly stored in a large freezer at the Norwich Diocese headquarters on Main Street. McCann’s donation marked the simultaneous opening of two milk banks in Southeastern Connecticut on Thursday.
“I would estimate I’ve donated, by my account, around 1,100 ounces so far,” McCann said. “I had so much extra in the freezer, I figured there must be a way to put this to good use.”
The two recently opened milk banks in Norwich and New London, both at Catholic Charities’ locations, are the first of their kind in the area. The closest banks in the state are Danbury and Guilford.
McCann previously donated her milk by mail beginning in June this year. Though bringing donations to the Norwich location will prove to be much more convenient, she said.
Milk banks provide mothers’ breast milk from pre-approved donors to area hospitals and outpatients after pasteurization and testing. After approval, the milk goes directly to premature and sick babies whose mothers may not be able to produce a full supply.
According to Ann Marie Lindquist, director of community relations for Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast, one ounce of milk is roughly three meals for a newborn baby. So she estimates McCann’s donation to the Norwich location would account for nearly 360 meals for local babies.
Donors’ milk has rapidly become the replacement for mothers’ milk for infants in neonatal intensive care units. Human milk has also proven to decrease the chances of necrotizing enterocolitis, which effects one in 10 premature infants, by 79 percent, Lindquist said.
Check out this website for more information on milk banks around the United States.