Providence Bolsters Benefits for Newborns with New Milk Donor Program

Providence Bolsters Benefits for Newborns with New Milk Donor Program

Humboldt County moms and babies now have access to donated breast milk

To promote a human milk diet, Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka is proud to announce a new program that offers moms and babies pasteurized human donor milk as a supplemental feeding option for babies born at the hospital.

Pasteurized human donor milk is breast milk that has been lovingly donated by nursing mothers to the Mother’s Milk Bank of San Jose. Mothers are screened for medical conditions, medications they take, and have their blood drawn to test for blood-borne illnesses before they may become donors.  

Samples of donor breast milk

“Offering human donor milk to babies reaffirms the commitment we have made to promoting a human milk diet and supporting breastfeeding in our community,” said Laura Mojica, PNP, IBCLC, lactation clinical coordinator at the Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka Childbirth Center. “Human donor milk can provide a bridge to babies who are experiencing breastfeeding difficulties, are premature, or are separated from their parents.”

According to Mojica, breast milk helps to keep the babies in our community healthy by reducing the risk of infection, asthma, obesity, and promoting optimal growth and brain development. 

The milk bank tests the milk for bacteria or illness before pasteurizing and freezing it, then ships it to the hospital. This method of testing and pasteurization ensures that the donated milk is as safe and healthy as possible for babies.

“We have been working very hard for the past two years to get this program up and running so we can meet the needs and wants of the moms in our community,” said Corrinne Volta, MSN, RN, director of nursing at the Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka Childbirth Center. “It will benefit not only our full-term babies that are having difficulty feeding, but also our preterm babies that must be admitted into the neonatal intensive care unit.”

Providers, nurses and the lactation team are excited to be able to provide this nutritious food source for breastfed babies who need temporary supplementation such as those babies born prematurely, are separated from their mother due to illness, or who are having blood sugar issues or jaundice.  St. Joseph Hospital is the only hospital in the area to offer this donor breast milk program.