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Date Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital Unveils Donor Milk Bank for Extreme Preemies

Hospital is now a center for the donation, processing and dispensing of lifesaving pre-term human milk

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VALHALLA, NY - (December 11, 2019) ― A new, distinctive facility that processes pre-term human milk for extremely premature babies is now fully operational at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) and home to the Isaac & Naomi Kaplan Family Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The Regional Neonatal ICU cares for the Hudson Valley’s tiniest and sickest newborns and with the Liquid Gold Preemie Donor Milk Bank now online, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital has become a collection, processing and distribution center of pre-term human milk for extreme low birth weight babies.

Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital’s donor milk program provides human milk for pre-term babies born at 28 weeks or earlier and who weigh less than 2.2 pounds, as well as to ill infants. Pre-term milk is the optimal nutrition for pre-term babies as it is richer in protein, calories and anti-infective factors than full-term milk. 

 

 
The Liquid Gold Preemie Donor Milk Bank allows Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital to now collect milk donated by carefully screened and medically cleared mothers of other Regional Neonatal ICU babies whose milk production exceeds the needs of their own premature infants; analyze and pasteurize the donated milk on-site; and provide it to other babies in the Regional Neonatal ICU.

“Despite their best efforts, some mothers are unable to provide a sufficient milk supply to nourish their babies. Our donor milk bank ensures that those premature infants are still able to receive the same lifesaving benefits of human milk, thanks to the generosity of other mothers and the advanced technologies and skilled staff of Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital,” said Boriana Parvez, MD, a neonatologist at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital and the director of the Liquid Gold Preemie Donor Milk Bank. “Human milk is the superior food for infants and for premature infants, the nutritional benefits of pre-term milk can help preemies tackle the serious complications and illnesses they may face as they develop.”

Saving Preemies from a Deadly Disease

Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital’s Regional Neonatal ICU cares for over 700 neonatal patients each year, approximately 150 of whom are born at less than three pounds.

To boost the growth of premature infants, the Liquid Gold Preemie Donor Milk Bank analyzes and enriches human milk to the exact nutritional needs of each premature infant. This initiative eliminates exposure to formula during the most critical period in the lives of fragile infants.

Working in collaboration with community milk banks since 2015, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital has provided human milk to more than 500 babies. As a result, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital has seen significant reductions in cases of necrotizing enterocolotis (NEC) - the most common and serious intestinal disease among premature babies – by more than 70 percent.

Major supporters of Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital’s Liquid Gold Preemie Donor Milk Program include the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Heckscher Foundation for Children, the Countess Moira Charitable Foundation, Site One Landscape Supply, Tompkins Mahopac Bank and Mr. and Mrs. Sean Dugan.

To learn more about the Isaac & Naomi Kaplan Family Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, visit MariaFareriChildrens.org/RNICU. 

We celebrated the opening of the pre-term donor milk bank at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital. Cutting the ceremonial ribbon (L-R): Artie Hariprasad; Edmund LaGamma, MD; Boriana Parvez, MD; Tina Roeder, RNC MSN; Michael Gewitz, MD