NORFOLK -- Aubrey and McKinley Frazier lived off another mom's milk their first few weeks of life since they were born at 29 weeks and their mom couldn't produce enough milk to feed the twins in their early days.
WakeMed is the closest milk bank to our area, but next year, CHKD will have its own milk bank.
Lactating mothers who are able to donate more than 100 ounces of breast milk will be able to drop it off at CHKD.
Neonatologist Dr. Jamil Khan says they hope to be taking donations by next Spring.
Inside the milk room at CHKD, they currently have one freezer of donated milk from three different milk banks.
Peaches Garrett is in charge of thawing the frozen milk and says Tuesday was a slow day.
"Right now, I have 10 patients. I'm used to having 15 to 20 patients but I'm thrilled that we're getting a milk bank. It's awesome," Garrett said.
CHKD will need a much bigger facility to store the pasteurizing equipment to clear the milk of bacteria and viruses.
Babies won't be able to catch diseases from other women's milk but the milk loses valuable antibodies. Still, Dr. Khan says the choice is obvious.
"Some antibodies stay in pretty large numbers. Some are greatly reduced. But it still has advantages over any sort of formula," Khan said.
Patients will not have to pay for the milk since the hospital already absorbs the costs. Hospital policy says the milk will go first to neonatal intensive care patients.
Dr. Khan says they'll see how the program grows before they market it to others.
"Currently, its just an inpatient thing, but in the future we could give it to patients with digestion issues. That's something that can be thought about," Khan said.
Click here if you'd like to donate milk to CHKD or need more information.