Skip to main content

MMC Increases Availability of Donated Breastmilk

August 01, 2018

donated breastmilk
Cynthia Knox knew that she wanted to breastfeed her baby, Isla, when she gave birth in April. But while in the hospital, it was clear that Isla was not getting the nutrition she needed.
“She was getting fussy. I had been nursing her but had a really painful latch,” said Knox. “I had started using the breast pump but wasn’t getting any milk out while pumping.”

Isla had been exclusively breastfed since birth and had excessive weight loss, making her eligible for Pasteurized Donor Human Milk (PDHM) in Maine Medical Center’s Mother Baby Care unit. The donor milk comes from the Mother’s Milk Bank Northeast. The milk has been available since March 30 in the Mother Baby Care unit for exclusively breastfed babies who have a medical indication for supplementation. PDHM had already been available to certain babies in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Knox and her husband, Justin, were grateful to have the option to supplement her breastmilk until she was able to produce more.

“It was very important to us to only give breastmilk,” Knox said. “Having the donor human milk gave me peace of mind that Isla was getting what she needed.”

Knox continued to work for several weeks on pumping and breastfeeding, with some supplementation, and now Isla is breastfed at home.

MMC Mother Baby Care provides eligible families PDHM in the hospital for up to 96 hours when there is a medical reason to supplement a mother’s own milk. If a newborn doesn’t meet policy criteria for receiving donor milk or if parents choose to supplement donor milk outside the hospital, parents can purchase PDHM directly from Mother’s Milk Bank Northeast or through MMC Lactation.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend babies be given breastmilk exclusively for their first six months, and up to a year or beyond as desired by mother and baby. Having access to donor human milk enables families to continue breastmilk feeding even when there is a medical reason to supplement their mother’s breastmilk. MMC is the first hospital in Maine to provide PDHM to babies who are not in the neonatal intensive care unit.

August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week. You can find more information on PDHM at

News from Around MaineHealth

View All
MMC Nurses Achieve Fourth Consecutive ANCC Magnet Recognition®
The recognition by the American Nurses Credentialing Center is considered the gold standard for nursing quality.
MaineHealth and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine Reach Agreement
MaineHealth and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine today announced they have reached an agreement that will keep Maine Medical Center in Anthem’s care provider network for the next two years.
MMC Emergency Department Earns Emergency Nurses Association Lantern Award
The emergency department at Maine Medical Center (MMC) has earned an Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) 2022 Lantern Award for demonstrating exceptional and innovative performance in leadership, practice, education, advocacy and research. MMC’s emergency department is one of just 29 in the U.S. to receive this honor this year.
U.S. News & World Report Names MMC as Best Regional Hospital for Tenth Straight Year
This is the 10th straight year that MMC has been named as a Best Regional Hospital. U.S. News also rated MMC as “high performing” in 14 common procedures and conditions included in the annual survey of U.S. hospitals.
Chair of MMC Department of Medicine Donates Kidney to Former Patient
The donation by Aji Djamali, MD, highlights the growing need for living donors here in Maine and across the country.
MaineHealth Awarded $1.2 Million Federal Grant for Statewide Overdose Prevention
Project DHARMA is a collaboration between MaineHealth and several other organizations across the state to prevent overdoses and infections through harm reduction programs.
MMC receives $2M gift from Eric and Peggy Cianchette; The Next 150 Campaign Extended
After raising more than $150 million, MMC is extending its campaign goal to support its increased care and workforce development needs.
Learn about Maine Medical Center’s upcoming Magnet re-designation site visit, including information on how to submit comment.
Emotional Message by MMC ICU Nurses Earns MaineHealth Videographer a Regional Emmy® Award
Videographer Charlie Berg won in the category of health/medical-short form content for the story entitled, ‘Inside View of Maine Medical Center ICU Nurses Caring for Unvaccinated COVID-19 Patients.’
MaineHealth to Open Food Pantry in Former Greyhound Station
The project is supported in part by a generous $100,000 donation by Former Maine Speaker of the House and U.S. Senate Candidate Sara Gideon.