Donating Breast Milk Saves Lives: Tammy Raccio

July 19, 2016

Tammy Raccio delivered her son, Anthony, at MidState Medical Center three months ago. She knew she wanted to breastfeed immediately. "I wanted to breastfeed for all of the benefits - decreased risk of obesity, diabetes, and other illnesses. This is an investment in my kids," said Tammy, who also has a six-and-a-half-year-old son.

But Tammy went one step further. She also donates her milk on a regular basis to the Ohio Milk Bank. To date, she has sent over 11 gallons of breast milk, which the milk bank dispenses by prescription. The milk is often used for premature babies on an outpatient basis. Before Tammy could begin donating, she went through a rigorous screening process that included blood tests and permission from her son's pediatrician.

Tammy heard about the milk bank from the Family Birthing Center's lactation consultant, Dawn Flohr, RN, IBCLC, who teaches moms how to have a successful breastfeeding experience.

According to the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, breastfed babies have fewer deaths and illnesses during the first year than those who are fed formula. The antibacterial and antiviral properties of breast milk reduce and/or decrease the severity of infections an infant has. Breast milk is also easier for babies to digest and there are less allergic reactions associated with it.

Breastfeeding provides health benefits for moms, too. Studies have shown that moms who breastfeed are less likely to develop breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and delayed menstruation and fertility.

Dawn holds a weekly breastfeeding support group at MidState to help moms maintain a positive breastfeeding experience and to provide a forum to share concerns and successes. Check the calendar of events for offerings.

For more information on how to donate breast milk, visit www.hmbana.org.

MidState Medical Center