Minnesota moms and babies who need breast milk now have a new option.
North Memorial Hospital has launched a program to accept donated breast milk from nursing mothers. The hospital says it will then provide the milk to babies who don't have enough.
These could include hospitalized premature infants, infants born with immunological defects, adopted infants, and babies whose mothers produce an insufficient amount of breast milk or have an illness requiring a brief cessation of breastfeeding, officials say.
Any donated milk will be screened and pasteurized through the University of Iowa Milk Bank.
And FOX 9 reports all women who wish to donate their breast milk must complete a screening process and have their blood tested before they can participate in the program.
Breast milk is known to contain unique proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and enzymes necessary for human infants to survive. Breast milk boosts babies' immune systems and helps protect them from infection.
Research shows that for most babies, particularly premature babies, breast milk is also easier to digest than formula.
North Memorial says high demand for donor milk led the hospital to set up its own program.
Watch a video about milk donation.