- Associated Press - Sunday, January 24, 2016

ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) - When Ashley Nevin had her third child, she was set on breast feeding her baby. Due to complications during delivery, she wasn’t able to.

This situation would normally lead to Wyatt, who born on Dec. 2 at Community Hospital Anderson, having to eat formula for his first few feeding.

Instead, baby Wyatt was able to have pasteurized breast milk that was donated by another mother through The Milk Bank in Indianapolis. Nevin said it was a huge relief when she was told the service is newly available at the Anderson hospital.

“It took a ton of stress off,” she said. “You didn’t have to worry about him not being able to latch on afterward or anything.”

For a long time, Elizabeth Arnett, lactation consultant at Community Hospital Anderson, wanted to provide pasteurized breast milk to babies at the hospital whose mothers are set on breast feeding.

After going through the application process, Community Hospital Anderson was approved. Since Oct. 30, 2015, the hospital has had nine moms whose babies have benefited from the donated breast milk, which is about 6 percent of the deliveries at the hospital.

Arnett said the free-to-patients program helps fulfill her job, which is to make sure the mother is happy and meeting her goals the way she wants to.

The milk donations aren’t for everyone nor are they for extended periods of time. Arnett said they are typically used for two to three feedings or for a couple of days, but there’s no official limit on how long a baby can use the donated milk while in the hospital.

The milk is intended for the babies of mothers who are having trouble producing milk on their own for one reason or another. If a child won’t latch to the mother, a pump can be used to extract milk, but a pump just doesn’t do as good of a job as a baby does naturally, Arnett said.

The milk is also only for mothers who are set on their child only consuming breast milk instead of a mix of breast milk and formula. About 76 percent of mothers who give birth at Community Hospital Anderson breast feed, with only about 3 percent of those mothers breastfeeding at first and then switching to formula.

If a mother is able to produce half of the milk for a feeding or any partial amount, that milk is used first, and the donor milk is used to supplement the rest of the feeding.

A feeding for a newborn baby is only about 2 to 9 milliliters for his or her small stomach, which means an ounce can deliver anywhere from three to 15 full feedings. Arnett said they are usually just using drops of the donated milk.

Arnett said it’s rewarding to see the excitement a mother shows when she is able to start breast feeding for her baby’s entire feedings.

“To see the excitement . It’s almost like graduation,” Arnett said.

Mothers can also donate milk at Community Hospital. Mothers who donated before would have to go to The Milk Bank in Indianapolis to drop off donations.

The newly donated milk and the pasteurized milk from the Milk Bank are kept in separate freezers in separate rooms as to not get them confused. Donated milk is picked up by The Milk Bank to be taken to Indy to be pasteurized.

Since all of the pasteurized milk comes from The Milk Bank, the amount of donations Community Hospital Anderson receives does not affect how much pasteurized milk is delivered to the hospital.

All milk is tested, and mothers have to keep their medical history and conditions updated. Some mothers might be asked to stop donating temporarily if they have certain conditions.

Arnett said the response of mothers wanting to donate at Community Hospital Anderson has been overwhelming already. It is free to donate, and mothers who donate don’t need to be patients of the hospital.

There are two kinds of mothers who donate, Arnett said. First, there are mothers who produce a high amount of milk. This way, nothing is going to waste.

There are also mothers who donate who have lost a child. While some would rather dry up and move on from the loss, others feel it is a way to honor their child, Arnett said.

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Source: The (Anderson) Herald-Bulletin, https://bit.ly/1UcqUPH

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Information from: The Herald Bulletin, https://www.theheraldbulletin.com

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