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From surviving to thriving: donated milk saves lives

Poudre Valley Health System

For immediate release: May 15, 2012

Jill Clark 970.217.7549,

PVH WeeSteps celebrates its 25th anniversary as a depot for the Mother's Milk Bank

WHEN: 4-5 p.m. Thursday, May 17
WHERE: Westbridge Conference Center, Westbridge Medical Suites, 1107. S. Lemay Ave, first floor.

Facts about PVH, WeeSteps and the Mother's Milk Bank:

  • WeeSteps became a collection site for donor milk in 1987. Only one other milk depot has been contributing to the Mother's Milk Bank for 25 years.
  • All the lactation nurses at WeeSteps are International Board Certified Lactation Consultants.
  • The Mother's Milk Bank sent donated milk to 117 different cities in 29 states in 2011.
  • The PVH NICU received 8,666 ounces of donated milk in 2011.
  • The cost of donated milk is $3.50 per ounce plus shipping. Medical insurance sometimes covers this cost.
  • Approximately 600 mothers donate to the Milk Bank each year, bringing in more than 360,000 ounces or 2,800 gallons.
  • The Milk Bank sees 500 new donors each year and the average mom donates 400 ounces.
  • Minimum donation is 100 oz.
  • Donors range in age from18-41.
  • One ounce can feed a micro preemie for a full day.

Note to reporters. Laurie Muller is available for interviews and will be attending the 25th anniversary celebration noted at right. Donors with their children and lactation nurses will be attending the celebration. 

Laurie Muller, 30, of Fort Collins has helped save the lives of medically fragile babies as a tribute to her late infant daughter, Maisy Jane. Laurie donated more than 8,000 feedings of breast milk to the Mothers' Milk Bank, a processing center in Denver for all donated breast milk in Colorado.

Breast milk is especially important to the health, growth and development of premature and sick babies because it contains antibodies protecting them from infections and allergies. However, some mothers aren't able to produce milk for their babies. These families rely on donated milk to help their babies thrive.

Poudre Valley Hospital routinely uses donated milk in its neonatal intensive care unit. The nurses there see the benefits firsthand, watching some of the smallest and sickest babies thrive with the help of donated milk. "We know breast milk is the perfect food for babies, and it is even more vital for premature and sick infants. The ability to give these special babies breast milk is a tremendous boost in helping them become healthy, growing babies," said Barb Peters, NICU's nurse manager.

Laurie is a certified lactation nurse at PVH and understands the commitment needed to donate milk. Laurie's third child, Maisy Jane, was stillborn at 23 weeks in May 2009 due to a cord accident. Laurie wanted to donate milk in her daughter's honor because of the positive experience she had donating 500 ounces after the birth of her second child, Sullivan.

Laurie's milk supply was low because her daughter was born so early, but she was able to donate about 50 ounces of milk. She vowed that after the birth of her next child she would donate again. After her son Ellison arrived in August 2010, Laurie donated another 2,170 ounces during the course of a year, totaling more than 21 gallons.

Laurie said she understands the many nutritional benefits of donated milk. "Breast milk can make the difference between life and death for some of these babies. This is something that I can only do a few times in my life. Think of the difference we could make if everyone who could donate would donate," said Laurie

The Mothers' Milk Bank at Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center, Denver, is the processing center for all donated milk in Colorado. In Fort Collins, WeeSteps, Poudre Valley Health System's lactation program, is one of five collection centers in the state. WeeSteps has helped mothers donate milk for 20 years. For more information: Mothers' Milk Bank, 877.458.5503.


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