MomsGetReal Contributor Kylie Burgener, Prolacta Bioscience affiliate and mother of a toddler

When I became a mother, I thought I was prepared for anything. We’d been trying for over two years before I finally got pregnant. I had read books, followed a healthy diet, set up an adorable nursery, and purchased a vast array of accessories for my new baby boy.

What I wasn’t ready for was the medical team bundling my tiny new baby out of the delivery room, giving a vague explanation about his breathing and taking my husband with him. It’s difficult to be prepared for that kind of a situation.

For the next four days, I stayed by my baby’s side in the NICU as he was treated for a minor lung condition. I think one of the hardest parts of the NICU experience is feeling like there is nothing you can do for your baby.

One of the only things you can be involved in at first is providing breast milk. Extremely premature infants (those weighing less than 2 lbs 12 oz at birth) need every advantage when it comes to their nutrition. Their preemie stomachs can only hold tiny amounts of liquid at a time, and in some cases, a concentrated fortifier is added to their mother’s milk to ensure they get the added protein, minerals, and calories they need to survive.

Often, the fortifiers prescribed are made from cow’s milk, which is not ideal for these tiny infants. Research has shown that, among the many other benefits of breast milk, when given to micro-preemies exclusively, it can prevent the dangerous intestinal disease NEC. The only 100% human milk-based human milk fortifier currently available is made by Prolacta Bioscience. It is called Prolact+ H2MF.

The only way for premature infants to get the benefits of a 100% human milk-based diet is through the generous donation of

breast milk from moms like you all over the country.

Prolacta’s affiliated milk banks collect the milk, which is then sent to Prolacta for testing pasteurization and formulation into human milk fortifier, or standardized donor milk products sometimes used when mother’s milk is not available.

If you are a healthy, nursing mother interested in donating breast milk to premature infants in need, begin by finding the milk bank that works for you. Prolacta-affiliated milk banks can be found here.  These milk banks allow busy new moms to donate from the comfort of home with no cost to themselves. Many of them also donate dollars for ounces of breast milk to great causes like the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

My experience in the NICU was short, but it left a deep impression on me. Helping preemies win any battle or gain any advantage is a cause that I am very passionate about. To learn more about neonatal nutrition to breast milk donation, visit the Prolacta Bioscience homepage.