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South Coast Hospital Hosts Unusual Drive; Collecting Breast Milk For Premature Infants

A woman pushing a stroller down a corridor at Cottage Hospital is beaming. One look in her stroller explains why. There’s a cute little smiling baby inside. Emily Eckland says she and her husband feel lucky to have a healthy baby boy. She works at the hospital, and sees some families which are having a much tougher time, with newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit. She wants to help, and as a new mom, she can by sharing breast milk.

The Cottage Children’s Medical Center is holding a breast milk drive. The hospital works with the Mother’s Milk Bank of San Jose to make sure it has a supply of the milk for its babies in the NICU.

Laura Danhauer is an RN with Cottage’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She says the extremely premature infants are at high risk for infection, and donor milk is critical. Danhauer says it works sort of like a blood bank, where donors are screened. But, she says unlike when you give blood, moms can make their contributions from home.

She says they’re thrilled to have several participating moms at any given time, to keep the vital supply of breast mike available. Cottage just had a breast milk donor drive to recruit new mothers for the effort, but the hospital is always looking for donors.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.