First mothers milk bank in the NW opens


by KGW reporter Keely Chalmers

Posted on July 12, 2013 at 5:49 AM

Updated Friday, Jul 12 at 6:01 AM

Moms of Portland: got milk?

The first donor human milk bank in the Northwest is now up and running and it's right here in Portland.

It’s taken five years of fund-raising and a lot of hard work and determination, but Thursday the Northwest Mothers Milk Bank officially opened its doors.

Despite the fact that Oregon has one of the highest rates of breast-feeding in the nation, up until now, the closest milk banks were in San Jose and Colorado.

Now, mothers can come to the non-profit’s Southwest Portland office to donate their extra breast milk.

That milk is then screened, pasteurized and distributed to area hospitals for premature and sick babies whose mothers do not have sufficient milk.

Many health experts say human breast milk is critical for the health and development of medically fragile babies.

“Especially for the fragile premature infants in the newborn... it really helps to shorten their hospital stay and decrease their risk of very serious illnesses,” said Joanne Ransom, co-executive director of the Northwest Mothers Milk Bank.

Although the milk will go to area neonatal units first, the remainder will be available for families to buy.

The cost is $4.50 an ounce, which the organization said only partially covers the cost of treating it. But it said there are charitable groups that will help families cover those costs if needed.