The Healing Power of Human Milk

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Rachel Mennell
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Documentary Helps Raise Awareness about the Value of Donor Milk
October 17, 2012 – McHenry, Ill. – Donor Milk: The Documentary, a film showcasing the benefits of breastmilk for infants, especially preterm babies, will be screened in Chicago, Ill., Medela Inc. announced today. The company is partnering with King West Pictures and the Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes to offer the screening Thursday, November 8, 2012, at the York Theatre in Elmhurst, IL, at 7:00 p.m. Medela, King West Pictures and local milk banks are hosting a series of such screenings throughout the country to raise awareness of the life-saving benefits of human breastmilk, particularly for babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The Chicago event takes place during National Prematurity Awareness Month, and Medela will donate proceeds from the event to the Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes.
Donor Milk: The Documentary highlights the benefits of donated breastmilk, not just for the recipient of the milk, but also for the mothers providing the milk. The documentary recounts the stories of real families, including screenwriter and filmmaker Kevin West and his wife’s tragedy of losing their baby late in term. His wife was able to cope with the loss by donating her breastmilk to sick and preterm babies in need. Based on their experiences, West wrote and directed the film with co-producer Jarred King. 
“Medela is honored to sponsor the screening of Donor Milk: The Documentary. Our destiny is to enhance mother and baby health through the life-giving benefits of breastmilk,” said Carolin Archibald, president of Medela, Inc. “This film brings hope and promise to all involved – the infants and the parents.” 

“Our milk bank is currently a successful and growing depot system, collecting milk donations from Illinois and Wisconsin moms to be processed in other states,” said Jennifer Anderson, IBCLC, chair of the board of directors for the milk bank. “Our goal is to establish our own processing facility here in the Chicago-area to keep the milk close to home and help save the lives of local babies.”

Archibald added, “We applaud the efforts of the Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes to provide human milk locally for Illinois and Wisconsin babies.”
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, UNICEF, and the U.S. Surgeon General, breastmilk provides the optimal nutrition for babies.I,II,III  Human milk acts as medicine for preterm babies and has proven to reduce incidents of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and other fatal diseases common among preterm babies in the NICU. In the United States, more than 517,000 babies will be born premature this year alone.  Each year, 31,500 babies are born prematurely in Illinois and Wisconsin.
When a mother’s own milk is not available, the next best nutrition source is human donor milk. To date, there are only 11 human milk banks in the nation designed to support families in need of breastmilk when a mother is unable to provide it herself.
Medela, the leading provider of breastfeeding research and education, lactation innovation, and breast pumps, works daily with professionals in the breastfeeding community on the impact of human milk to health-compromised babies in the NICU. 
For a $25 donation, guests will view the 50-minute documentary and attend a one-hour Q&A session and reception featuring filmmaker Jarred King, Jennifer Anderson and Summer Cassidy of the Mothers’ Milk of the Western Great Lakes, neonatologists as well as a donor of breastmilk and recipient of donor milk. At no additional charge, Medela will provide credit from the CA Board of Registered Nursing and the Commission of Dietetic Registration in support of the continuing education of nurses and dieticians attending the screening event.
In addition to sponsoring the screening and providing continuing education credits to health care professional attendees, Medela will match ticket sales from the night’s showing to provide an unrestricted donation to the Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes. 
For more information on this event, or other events, please visit one of the partner sites at:,, or  
About Medela
Medela provides the most technologically advanced breastpumps and breastfeeding accessories to nursing mothers around the world. A long-time champion of breastfeeding, Medela is the only company to develop products based on research by the world’s leading lactation experts. As a result, Medela’s breastpumps are the number one choice of healthcare professionals and facilities worldwide.
Medela has developed an extensive line of products to meet the diverse needs of nursing mothers. These products include hospital-grade, double and single electric and manual personal breastpumps; breastfeeding accessories such as breast care products and specialty feeding devices. Most recently, Medela introduced 2-Phase Expression®, the only research-based breastpump technology that mimics a baby’s nursing rhythm, resulting in faster let-down and milk flow.
Founded in 1961 by Olle Larsson in Zug, Switzerland, Medela continues to grow under the ownership of the Larsson family. Medela serves customers through a worldwide network of distribution partners in more than 90 countries and its 15 subsidiaries in Australia, the Benelux countries, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Spain, Sweden, Poland and Switzerland.
About Donor Milk
Through the eyes of grieving and giving mothers, Donor Milk: The Documentary seeks to educate viewers on the absolute importance of breastfeeding our babies and provides options for those who cannot locate human milk. Leading experts in the field of obstetrics, human milk pasteurization, health economics and nutrition provide insights never before captured in a documentary about donor human milk. The film visits non-profit Human Milk Banking Association donor centers all across the United States, the for-profit corporation that has developed the first-ever human milk fortifier, and the hundreds of donor moms and families whose stories will touch and change your life.
About the Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes
Mothers' Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes, founded in 2011, is a "mentoring" milk bank, according to Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) guidelines. Our mission is to accept, pasteurize and dispense donor human milk to premature and ill infants in Illinois and Wisconsin by physician prescription and according to guidelines from the HMBANA. When fully functional, we will screen potential donor mothers, then collect, process, and dispense donated human milk by physician prescription. Mothers’ Milk of the Western Great Lakes is a 501(c)(3) pending non-profit organization.
I  American Academy of Pediatrics. Accessed August 7, 2012.

II UNICEF. Accessed August 7, 2012.

III U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed August 7, 2012.