Your Guide for Knowing Where to Go for the Right Type of Care. Click here

Breast Milk Depot at Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital Celebrates One Year

Nearly 15,000 ounces of milk have been donated by local mothers

Since opening on Feb. 11, 2021, the milk depot at Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital has collected 14,891 ounces of local donor breast milk, enough to provide nutrition for as many as 59,564 premature babies in need. One ounce of breast milk can provide nutrition for as many as four premature babies.

The milk depot, the only one of its kind in central Georgia, offers local breastfeeding mothers an easy way to donate their extra supply.

Through a partnership with The King’s Daughters Milk Bank in Norfolk, Va., potential donors undergo a medical screening process including a phone interview, an online form and a blood test. Once cleared, mothers can schedule a milk drop-off at Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital. The milk is then sent to The King’s Daughters Milk Bank where it undergoes additional processing and pasteurization. The processed milk is then dispensed by hospitals, including Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital, through a prescription or physician’s order.

There’s no fee to donate and Atrium Health Navicent provides donor breast milk to premature babies at no cost to their families.

Studies show that breast milk is tied to a number of health benefits for babies. For premature babies in particular, the neonatal intensive care unit at Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital has seen cases of a devastating intestinal condition reduced dramatically for those that received breast milk.

Babies born prematurely, before 34 weeks, need time to be able to grow and mature before being able to breastfeed directly from their mothers. Breast milk is the preferred and recommended form of nutrition for preterm infants. In some cases, a mother may be unable to provide breast milk or may choose not to. For those instances, donor milk is used to help babies get the nutrition they need to thrive.

In 2021, many of the babies admitted to Atrium Health Navicent’s neonatal intensive care unit received donor breast milk, totaling 20,950 ounces.

“The donor depot has proven to be a great success for Bibb and surrounding counties. It affords breastfeeding mothers the opportunity to support a great cause in donating their excess breast milk,” said Dr. Mitch Rodriguez, a neonatologist and medical director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and business development officer for Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital. “The support of breastfeeding mothers donating excess expressed breast milk is critical in maintaining the supply of donated breast milk and allows us here at Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital to move toward a breast milk-only unit for our critical patient population.”

Mothers interested in donating can call (478) 633-0319 for additional information about screening requirements and drop-off procedures.

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent, the leading provider of health care in central and south Georgia, is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Providing more than 1,000 beds and offering care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region, Atrium Health Navicent provides care for health care consumers’ through an academic medical center; community, pediatric and rehabilitation hospitals; urgent care centers; physician practices; diagnostic centers; home health; hospice and palliative care; and a life plan community. Atrium Health Navicent is dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. For more information, please visit www.NavicentHealth.org.