Lenox Hill Hospital Provides Donor Milk as Standard of Care in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

New York, NY – Lenox Hill Hospital, a member of Northwell Health, today introduced pasteurized donor human milk as a standard of care for premature babies in their neonatal intensive care unit.  Now when a new mom isn’t able to breastfeed, formula is no longer her only option.   She can still provide her child with all the benefits of breast milk.

“We are proud to be able to provide mothers’ milk for new moms who can’t provide it themselves.  This program will allow us to initiate the feeding of our tiniest patients in the healthiest way possible,” said Marty Ellington, Chairman of Pediatrics at Lenox Hill Hospital.

Lenox Hill Hospital is one of only seven hospitals in New York City and 17 in New York State currently offering donor milk from Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast (MMBNE), a nonprofit community milk bank operating under the guidelines of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA).

Donor milk is rapidly becoming the standard supplement to mothers' milk for preterm infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and can be lifesaving for preterm infants.   It is especially protective against a life-threatening condition called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), which affects one in ten of the smallest preterm infants. A human milk diet is estimated to lower the risk of this condition by 79%. It also lowers hospital costs by reducing costs for care and shortening hospital stays.

 “We applaud the vision of Lenox Hill Hospital and are delighted to work with them to provide this service to New York families. This is part of a larger movement that is recognizing not only the importance of breastfeeding and human milk, but the potential harm of artificial formulas for our most vulnerable babies,” said Naomi Bar-Yam, Executive Director of MMBNE.

Since some mothers have more milk than their babies need they generously donate this gift of health to other mothers and babies.  Milk donor screening, modeled after blood donor screening, includes health history, physician approval, and a blood test. These are some of the many measures taken to ensure the safety of milk for the fragile premature and sick babies served by MMBNE and the hospitals that use the milk.  Milk from mothers who pass the screening is also pasteurized and tested by an independent lab to ensure safety before being dispensed to hospitals or families.

Mothers who wish to donate milk can check the guidelines on the MMBNE website, www.milkbankne.org and call 212-993-1566.

Lenox Hill Hospital is renowned for its exceptional obstetrical service and delivers approximately 4,500 babies per year.  Its 28-bed, state-of-the-art, Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit  is staffed by a team of specially trained physicians and nurses providing intensive, round-the-clock monitoring and treatment of low birth weight or sick newborns.  

About Lenox Hill Hospital

Lenox Hill Hospital, a member of Northwell Health, is a 652-bed, fully accredited, acute care hospital located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side with a national reputation for outstanding patient care and innovative medical and surgical treatments. US News & World Report has ranked the hospital among the nation’s top 50 in Cardiology and Heart Surgery and among the top 10 hospitals in the state of New York with a total of 11 “high performing” designations for its clinical performance in Cancer, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Ear, Nose & Throat, Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Gynecology, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology and Urology. For more information, go to www.lenoxhillhospital.org

Topics: News

Focus onHealth TV

Watch Focus onHealth, Northwell Health's TV show. It's the healthy way to stay informed!