For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Mark Hyatt
Self Regional Healthcare | (864) 725-7091
(Greenwood, S.C., May 11, 2016) Self Regional Healthcare is now one of four official drop sites in the upstate for the Mother's Milk Bank of South Carolina, a non-profit based in Charleston, SC. Mothers with a surplus of breast milk in the Lakelands now have the option to donate it easily to babies who need it most.
On average, South Carolina has a preterm birth rate of greater than 10%, which is higher than the national average. Children who are born prematurely often require lengthy hospital stays, more medical attention and a greater quantity of nutrients to help them thrive. Breast milk contains the vitamins and infection fighting elements that cannot be found or duplicated with commercially available formulas. When sick or premature babies require more nutrients in order to survive, some mothers struggle to keep up with the demand due to lack of milk production or other medical issues.
The Mother's Milk Bank of South Carolina collects donations across the state from mothers who have a milk surplus or those who are in the process of weaning their children. In order to accommodate the large number of mothers who wish to donate, drop off spots, (or "depots") are located throughout the state.
Elizabeth Gary RN, BSN, CLC, Lactation Consultant at Self Regional Healthcare's Women's Center said, "This is a huge opportunity for us to allow mom's who have excess breast milk the opportunity to give back. In general, the process is easy, very similar to donating blood! A mom wishing to donate contacts the Milk Bank, fills out a form, has simple blood work done, and completes a phone interview. Once approved, the mom receives a donor packet and ID number. She can drop her milk off at the closest available depot after making an appointment. There are several drop sites around South Carolina. However, Self Regional Healthcare is one of only four sites in the upstate, which makes it even more convenient for moms in our area who wish to help mothers who can't or are too sick to provide precious lifesaving breast milk to their baby."
Once the milk is dropped off, it is gently pasteurized at 62.5 degrees Celsius and is tested for bacteria. Once those steps are complete, the milk is ready for storage in the deep freeze until delivery.
Shelly Eidson, MBA, BS, Clinical Data Registry Coordinator for Self Regional was one of the first women to donate at the new depot location. "I had a milk surplus, and working in the healthcare field I know how important it is for babies who are premature or in the NICU to receive breast milk. It was an easy choice for me to make. I think more women should consider donating because it just makes you feel good knowing you're not only helping babies but also their mothers and families who are having a difficult time." Eidson was able to donate 1600 ounces to the Mother's Milk Bank.
By housing the Milk Depot within the healthcare organization, Self Regional hopes to increase awareness of the importance of mother's milk and lend support to families who choose to breastfeed. The donated milk is a tremendous help to NICUs and premature babies throughout the state.
Self Regional Healthcare strives to offer the best for patients and families, and being a depot site for the Mother's Milk Bank is another way of doing that for the Lakelands community. Every ounce counts. Giving milk, like giving blood, offers an invaluable reward: the satisfaction of helping babies and women in need. For more information about donating, go to www.scmilkbank.org. If you would like to schedule an appointment for a drop-off, or have any questions please call Elizabeth Gary at 864-725-5748.
About Self Regional Healthcare: Self Regional Healthcare is a not-for-profit, regional referral hospital that provides care to residents of Greenwood, Abbeville, Laurens, Saluda, McCormick, Edgefield and Newberry counties. Services include prevention and wellness, acute care and tertiary care services including cancer care, neurosurgery, heart and vascular surgery, NICU, orthopedics and genetics. Self Medical Group is its employed physician affiliate network of 32 practices and more than 113 physicians.