SMH Venice Milk Depot to Collect Donated Breast Milk for Fragile, Premature Babies

Business

Sarasota Memorial has opened a second Milk Depot at the new SMH-Venice Campus for local moms to donate their breast milk to struggling premature babies. The first donor at SMH-Venice has a personal tie to the cause, having given birth to a preemie of her own at the end of 2021. Brittany Brighenti has donated more than 800 ounces of breast milk since her son Carter’s birth on December 23 when she was only 31 weeks pregnant. Prior to the opening of the milk depot in south county, she was driving approximately 45 minutes to SMH-Sarasota. She is thrilled to have the new drop-off location so close to home. Sarasota Memorial established its first Milk Depot at the Sarasota Campus in 2015 to enhance maternity care and work toward national Baby Friendly USA © designation, which was achieved in 2018. So far in 2022, local women have donated more than 6,000 ounces of breastmilk through Sarasota Memorial, bringing the total donated since the SMH Milk Depot's inception to more than 62,157 ounces. SMH’s Milk Depots were established in association with the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Florida, which screens mothers using a voluntary process similar to blood donations, and is the only one of its kind in the state. The not-for-profit Milk Bank analyzes the milk of approved donors for calorie and protein content and then pasteurizes it to kill any viruses or bacteria. It then tests the milk to ensure it’s free of contaminates before deep freezing and distributing it to hospitalized babies who are in need. There is no cost or compensation to moms to donate their milk. Mothers’ Milk Bank sells the milk to hospitals to cover distribution and basic costs. Local moms interested in donating their breast milk can start the screening process by calling the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Florida at (407) 248-5050 or visiting milkbankofflorida.org.

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