Wesley Healthcare
October 27, 2014

The Region’s “Baby Hospital” Introduces New Donor Milk Program to Provide

Neonatal Breast Milk for Premature Infants

WICHITA – Luci Bain was preparing for the birth of her son Peter like most expectant moms-to-be – buying baby clothes, decorating a nursery and packing bags for the hospital. Little did she know she would deliver Peter via emergency C-section eight weeks early, and then spend the next four weeks with him in the neonatal intensive care unit and special care nursery unit at Wesley Medical Center.

So when she was later offered the chance to donate breast milk to help other NICU babies, it was an easy decision.

“My answer was absolutely,” Bain said. “Who wouldn’t want to help a baby in need by offering the best nutrition possible?”

Bain became the first donor for the Wesley Milk Donor Program, a new initiative to provide donated breast milk to Wesley’s tiniest patients. And the benefits of breast milk for those patients is significant.

“Recent publications confirm speculation that preemies who are exclusively fed human milk have lower mortality, infection and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) rates. Unfortunately not every mom is able to provide enough milk to maintain an exclusive human milk diet,” said Barry Bloom, MD, Wesley’s neonatal special nurseries medical director.

Growing evidence supports the health benefits of an exclusive breast milk diet for premature infants. A recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics said extremely premature infants who are fed an exclusive donor breast milk diet have a significantly lower incidence of surgery associated with NEC and require fewer days of intravenous feedings.

Breast milk donated to the Wesley Milk Donor Program is formulated and pasteurized using rigorous safety and quality testing procedures. The program is run in partnership with Prolacta Bioscience® to maintain a safe, standardized and steady supply of pasteurized donor breast milk for Wesley’s NICU. Prolacta manages the donor qualification process by conducting health screenings, blood testing and the milk collection process.

“That standardization is significant since human breast milk is highly variable. Wesley will now be able to provide preemies in their NICU with donor milk that has a precise amount of calories and protein, enabling targeted nutrition to help ensure appropriate growth. Prolacta offers us the opportunity to maintain the exclusive human milk diet with adequate caloric intake,” Dr. Bloom said.

Potential donors with a surplus of breast milk can visit wesleymc.com and apply through a simple, hassle-free process. The initial screening is done online, and then a certified phlebotomist goes to the mother’s home or office to complete the assessment. All the storage and shipping supplies are sent directly to the mom, and shipment is then arranged so the donating mother won’t be burdened by having to drive the shipment coolers anywhere.

“For many moms, this process will come as a welcome option, since many struggle with what to do with their extra breast milk,” said Paula Delmore, Wesley’s neonatology department manager. “The process provided by Prolacta is easy and convenient, and the family doesn’t incur any out-of-pocket expenses.”

Knowing how important breast milk was for her son’s development, Bain began pumping as soon as she could. “Pumping breast milk seemed like one of the few ways I could directly contribute to his health and well-being,” she said. “I was able to pump more than enough milk to feed him, and I’m so happy that milk can now help others.”

Prolacta is an industry leader in safety and quality in human milk collection, standardization and processing, with a pharmaceutical-grade manufacturing facility that is the first and only of its kind. Additionally, Prolacta is the only organization that includes a safety combination of DNA matching of mom to milk, testing the milk for drugs and adulteration, as well as for HIV-1, HCV and HBV. Prolacta’s advanced technology provides for an unmatched and extra margin of safety to protect from any potential transmission of virus or disease.

Wesley is recognized as Kansas’ leading hospital to care for newborns who are premature or have special needs. Because of its decades of experience, award-winning staff and high-quality care, Wesley now delivers more than 6,000 babies about 1000 of which require special care annually, which is more than any other hospital in a 13-state region.

“I hope other mothers who have ample breast milk stored will be willing to donate,” Bain said. “These premature babies need all the help they can get.”

To learn how to become a donor, visit wesleymc.com, email wesley@prolacta.com or call 855.379.0999.

For more information about Wesley and its women’s services, please visit www.wesleymc.com.

Wesley Medical Center is the region’s leading acute care hospital network providing a full range of diagnostic and treatment services for patients throughout Kansas and northern Oklahoma since 1912. As a leader in Overall Recommended Care in national rankings, Wesley treats more than 24,000 patients annually and delivers more than 6,000 babies – more than any hospital in a 13-state region. Wesley provides the most extensive emergency network in Wichita, with Wesley ER, Wesley West ER and Galichia ER. Wesley owns and operates Galichia Heart Hospital, WESLEYCare Clinics and the Pediatric Center of Kansas. To learn more about Wesley Medical Center, please visit www.wesleymc.com.

Prolacta Bioscience, Inc. is a privately-held life sciences company dedicated to Advancing the Science of Human Milk®. The company pioneered the development of human milk-based neonatal nutritional products to meet the needs of critically ill, premature infants in the NICU and leads the industry in the quality and safety of nutritional products made from breast milk. Prolacta operates the first and only pharmaceutical-grade manufacturing facility for the processing of human breast milk. For more information please visit www.prolacta.com.