The Milk Bank is closely monitoring developments related to the outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus and taking all necessary steps to protect both the milk supply and milk donors.
Increased donations are needed now to prepare for possible spikes in demand associated with COVID19.
Executive Director, Freedom Kolb, notes, “Now is a particularly difficult time for the medically fragile infants we serve as well as the health care partners providing them with exceptional care. The Milk Bank’s supply of milk remains stable; however, we are proactively dedicated to supporting the lifesaving
work of regional hospitals and NICUs.”
While much is still unknown, the virus has not been detected in breast milk. As research specific to COVID-19 continues to evolve, characteristics of similar viruses such as SARS and MERS can inform practice. In fact, studies have documented complete heat inactivation of these genetically similar viruses. Kolb continues, “All milk dispensed by The Milk Bank undergoes heat treatment using the Holder pasteurization method. Additionally, strict safeguards informed by both the CDC and FDA ensure the integrity of every bottle through comprehensive donor screening and third-party microbiological
analysis.”
In times of crisis, it is critical to rely on the most current and accurate information and to mobilize efforts to support public health. You can help vulnerable infants during this time in the following ways:
• Encourage healthy moms to donate milk to The Milk Bank, even milk that has been frozen and stored. Donor moms can visit www.themilkbank.org to determine eligibility and begin the screening process. Reinforce that The Milk Bank can providing shipping materials and supplies if donor mothers are unable to bring milk to a depot.
• Practice social distancing, but reach out by phone, text or email to friends with young children. It can be a frightening and confusing time for families and typical resources may become less accessible. Share details about support services that remain open such as free telephonic and online lactation consulting with The Milk Bank.
• Making a financial investment to The Milk Bank at www.themilkbank.org and join our efforts to combat infant mortality and promote public health.
• Be familiar with CDC guidance specifically for breastfeeding and pregnant women diagnosis with COVID-19.