Congratulations to Mothers’ Milk Bank of Louisiana for being named the 2020 Chapter Service Award recipient. This award is to recognize a committee or special interest group that has most successfully accomplished its goals and objectives. Medical Director Dr. Harley G. Ginsberg nominated Mothers’ Milk Bank of Louisiana for this award. Dr. Ginsberg was joined by the Director of Mothers’ Milk Bank of Louisiana Shelley Thibeau to accept this award.
It is well know that human milk is much more than wonderful nutrition for healthy newborns. Research has demonstrated that human milk may be life-saving therapy for critically ill babies and, unfortunately, some mothers may not be capable of providing this nourishment for their offspring. Pasteurized donor human milk has been proven and subsequently recognized by the AAP as the next best source of nutrition when a mother’s milk is not available.
In 2015, the team at Mothers’ Milk Bank of Louisiana established the first Human Milk Depot in Louisiana at Ochsner Baptist. Three years later, in March of 2018, they were accredited by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, HMBANA, as Louisiana’s first Milk Bank. They are now establishing milk depots throughout Louisiana. Thanks to an amazing, ever expanding group of donor moms they are able to provide pasteurized donor human milk to over half of the level III and above NICUs in the state of Louisiana. After recognizing that there are medical indications for outpatient donor human milk, the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Louisiana has recently established a program for helping these babies as well.
Neonatologists now know the value of donor human milk, especially for the most fragile and premature babies that can be afflicted with terrible intestinal complications, many of which are related to the use of commercial formulas. The use of pasteurized human milk from vetted donors has come into its own and its popularity continues to grow.
Currently, the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Louisiana is serving 15 units in the state. There is a hospital in every city except Lake Charles receiving milk. The bank has received an impressive 1,800 gallons of milk to date from around 325 donors. They are the 24th Milk Bank to be accredited by HMBANA.
The finances behind the milk bank are not meant to be a profit generating center but rather they are meant to work at a barely break-even point. There were no state funds received to get the milk bank off the ground. The fundraising was completely philanthropic. Milk is a very valuable commodity not just because of the moms working hard to donate, but also the other costs that go into it like shipping, cultures, bottles, etc. Grants and financial donations are critical to keeping the cost of milk as low as possible. Dr. Ginsberg wants people to realize that “when this does generate a bill that the hospitals are responsible for, we should all recognize the labor intensive work that goes into it and the equipment that is involved.”
There is no reason for any baby that is pre-term to be exposed to commercial formula when either maternal milk or donor human milk is available to them. Unfortunately, not every NICU in the state of Louisiana is using milk from a Louisiana milk bank which Mothers’ Milk Bank of Louisiana is working to remedy. Their hope is that everyone considers using them for their milk because they are more proximal and the milk will be coming from Louisiana moms.
Dr. Ginsberg thanked Oschner for allowing him to set up the milk bank as well as all the people who continue to donate. He also thanked everyone for their financial support because that’s what keeps Louisiana milk prices down. Dr. Ginsberg continued by saying “if I don’t have the philanthropic support whether its $5 a paycheck or people paying for the folks working in the lab then the price of the milk has to go up.”
To see the incredible, full pasteurization process watch the acceptance video.
If you would like to get involved either by donating or connecting with the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Louisiana please visit their homepage here at or visit their Facebook account: Mothers Milk Bank of Louisiana.