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Orange Park Medical Center accepting breast milk donations to help moms, babies in need

by: Lorena Inclan, Action News Jax Updated:

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ORANGE PARK, Fla. - Orange Park Medical Center is now giving local mothers a chance to donate their breast milk to moms in need.

Victoria Leathers recently stopped breast-feeding her 15-month-old son but still had more milk to pump and wanted to donate it.

“I actually thought about it for a while but I couldn't really find any information on it,” said Leathers.

Orange Park Medical Center lactation specialist Rachel Bass said the hospital is the first in the Jacksonville area to accept breast milk donations after partnering with the Colorado-based nonprofit, Mother’s Milk Bank.

“There is certain criteria for the breast milk. It does have to be within a certain time frame, it can't be too old,” said Bass.

The milk is especially important for premature babies, who are born with weak immune systems.

“It's so beneficial because 1 ounce of human breast milk can save a baby's life,” said Bass.

Once the milk is donated, it’s shipped to a facility in Colorado where it’s screened and tested.

The milk from local mothers is then pasteurized and sent to mothers across the country who can’t provide milk of their own.

“A lot of times, moms are on certain medications that doesn't permit breast-feeding or they have a milk-supply issue,” said Bass.

Leathers said having a local donation center gives local mothers the option to help.

“I know the premature babies, they could really use the help,” said Leathers.

If you’re interested in donating breast milk, you can call 904-639-3515 to make an appointment.