Health and Community Experts to Discuss Milk Donation

Frozen Breast Milk Storage Bags For New Baby On Wooden Table
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NEW ORLEANS – In honor of National Prematurity Awareness Month, I Am New Orleans will host a virtual panel discussion titled “Milk Banks: Community Generosity Saves Lives” at 6 p.m. CT on Thursday, Nov. 18. The event will explore the importance of Black and Brown mothers in milk donation, tackle common misconceptions about milk banks, and discuss the integral role the community plays in saving babies’ lives. 

The virtual discussion is part of I Am New Orleans, a community-led effort to stimulate conversation and action around issues of racial equity to help create a child-centered city. The panel will be moderated by Kimberly Novod, founder and executive director at Saul’s Light Foundation. Speakers include Dr. Shelley Thibeau, director of Mothers’ Milk Bank of Louisiana at Ochsner Baptist; Kinda Andrews Saunders, mom and influencer; Dr. Julie Gallois, a neonatologist at Louisiana State University and Louisiana Children’s Medical Center; and Portia Williams, lactation consultant and maternal-child health community manager at Touro and founder of Nola Baby Café. 

“NOLA Baby Café is striving to encourage more Black and Brown mothers to donate and receive breast milk during National Prematurity Awareness Month,” said Williams. “This conversation will inform the community about the importance of breast milk donations from women of color and how it aids in the development of premature infants.”

“Milk Banks: Community Generosity Saves Lives” also will include conversations on breastfeeding in the workplace, the effects Hurricane Ida has had on breastfeeding mothers and their infants, and promote inclusivity within the breastfeeding community. Studies show that 80% of milk bank donations are attributed to White mothers. Black and Brown mothers only account for 10% each, although their milk is known to have a higher fat and calorie content needed to care for premature infants. 

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