By Wendy Killeen, Globe Correspondent June 16, 2015
Acelleron Maternal Health & Wellness in North Andover provides resources to soon-to-be and new parents, including infertility support, birthing classes, prenatal and postnatal yoga, doula services, breastfeeding classes, and baby massage.
Its newest endeavor is a program in conjunction with Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast, which collects breast milk from women who have an extra supply and donates it to women who don’t have enough for their premature or sick babies.
We talked with Megan O’Neill, director of lactation support at Acelleron.
Q. The issue of mothers sharing breast milk has been controversial. Why is this different?
A. It is completely regulated. Every [donor] is blood-tested and interviewed. Their pediatrician is contacted to make sure their own baby is getting enough milk. There is an extensive process of intake and labeling. The [donated] milk is pasteurized, then freezed. And no money is exchanged.
Q. Who donates?
A. New mothers might do an extra breast pumping session so they can donate. People might have extra milk in their freezer and don’t want to throw it out. Surrogate mothers, when the baby has moved on. And, those who might have tragically had a stillborn or lost a baby.
Q. Who does it go to?
A. A lot goes to neonatal intensive care units.
A. Donor milk can be lifesaving for preterm infants. It is especially effective against a condition called necrotizing enterocolitis, which affects one in 10 of the smallest babies. We are so happy to contribute to the increased demand and save lives.
Q. How does it work?
A. People wishing to donate can see the guidelines at milkbankne.org.
Q. Other benefits?
A. It gives our moms a way to give back when they are home and taking care of an infant, but want to do something.