- courtesy of evolution prenatal & family yoga center
When newborn babies at some Vermont hospitals, including the University of Vermont Medical Center and Central Vermont Medical Center, need supplemental breast milk, the hospital can provide pasteurized donor milk. But once the babies are discharged, parents are on their own. If they want to continue feeding supplemental pasteurized breast milk, they have to mail order it from out-of-state milk banks. "We noticed a gap in care," said Amy Wenger, a registered nurse and certified lactation counselor. So she and Rachel Foxx, a registered nurse and international board certified lactation consultant, have partnered with Susan Cline Lucey, owner of Evolution Prenatal & Family Yoga Center, to launch the Vermont Donor Milk Center at Evolution's Essex Junction location. It will offer pasteurized donor human milk, coupled with lactation and postpartum support, to families across Vermont and northern New York. The donor milk center, which organizers hope to open in early 2020, expects to serve primarily as a bridge, supplying milk for two to four weeks, while mothers and babies work through nursing difficulties. But the center intends to serve some long-term needs as well. To qualify, families will need a prescription from their child's doctor. Milk will be sold on a sliding scale, from $10 to $170 for 40 ounces, and come from a milk bank certified by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. Organizers are hoping to start an endowment so that families who can't afford to pay can still get milk. "The mission of the Vermont Donor Milk Center is to be able to provide supplemental breast milk to anyone who wants it," Cline Lucey said. The center won't recruit milk donors, but local women who have been screened and approved will be able to drop off their milk to be shipped out of state to be pasteurized. Parents who need to supplement often turn to formula, Wenger said. "But there's a superior product out there... We know that the benefits of breast milk far outweigh that of formula." Researchers continue to learn of new benefits, Foxx said. "So it really is this magical food that we can't make outside of the body."