OhioHealth Mothers’ Milk Bank Partners With Breastfeeding Medicine of Northeast Ohio to Open Milk Dispensary

OhioHealth Mothers’ Milk Bank has opened their first milk dispensary in the Breastfeeding Medicine of Northeast Ohio clinic.

The OhioHealth Mothers’ Milk Bank, under the guidelines of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), provides pasteurized human milk to fragile infants and as a bridge to mothers own milk. The Milk Bank, which is in the OhioHealth Eastside Health Center, relies on donations from healthy, lactating women who generously provide milk to help other babies.

In 2022, the Milk Bank dispensed 449,382 ounces of milk to 72 hospitals and 205 outpatients in 8 states plus Ohio.  That is 3511 gallons of milk. Each ounce of pasteurized human milk will feed 3 premature infants for a day.

MothersMilkBank v2.00_01_47_123The OhioHealth Mothers’ Milk Bank has 21 milk drop off sites in Ohio, where milk is accepted from approved donors.

This new milk dispensary service,  enables families with a prescription to pick-up the processed milk locally.  Given most insurance companies do not cover outpatient donor bridge milk, families will need to pay the processing, handling and shipping fee for the dispensed milk.

Ann M Witt, MD, FABM, IBCLC, is the founder and director of Breastfeeding Medicine of Northeast Ohio(BFMNEO). Founded in 2008, the clinic has worked with thousands of mothers throughout northeast Ohio providing medical and lactation support to help mothers achieve their breastfeeding goals.

“Some families need to start supplementation while waiting for their milk supply to increase, and while in the hospital after delivery they may have the option to supplement with pasteurized donor breast milk,” Dr. Witt goes on to say, “Upon discharge there has not been a readily available option to continue donor breast milk.  We have seen this need for years, and hear from many families how frustrated they are to not continue to provide exclusive breast milk to their infant’s.  When the milk bank contacted us about the possibility of a dispensary we were very excited.”

OhioHealth Mothers’ Milk Bank Outreach Coordinator for the Milk Bank, Chris Smith, reports that they often receive prescriptions from physicians in Northeast Ohio who are prescribing donor human milk for their patients, so this partnership is very beneficial.

“This allows BFMNEO to dispense the milk without the delay of shipping,” Smith, goes on to say, “This also introduces families to their services if they need additional breastfeeding help.

Dr. Witt’s hope with this partnership is to continue providing support to families and their babies. 

“Additionally, for those families who have a goal of exclusive breastfeeding and a delay in their milk production increasing, they will have another option to provide breast milk while figuring out the next steps,” Dr. Witt says, “This is truly wonderful news for area women in need of donor milk.”

In order to receive milk at the dispensary, families can arrange pickup either during their regular schedule appoints at the clinic or at a donor milk pickup-only-appointment, which are schedule Monday through Friday, from 1-4pm.

Families will need to complete the three forms found on the Breastfeeding Medicine of Northeast Ohio website

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