DENVER — As Paola Hubert gives a bottle to her baby Claire, it’s hard not to reflect on the long journey it took for them to get to that moment. Claire and her twin brother Alex were born prematurely at just 26 weeks.
“They were 14 inches long,” Hubert said. “Alexander weighed 2 lbs 3 oz, Claire was 2 lbs 1.5 oz.”
Claire and Alex had a long road ahead of them and their mother attributes much of their progress to one thing.
“I sincerely believe that having been able to give them donated breast milk has been a huge contributor to their success,” she said.
But the bank that milk came from needs help. The mother’s milk bank in Denver is the only one in the entire region. Neonatologist Dr. Jan Kennaugh knows how vital mother’s milk can be.
“It provides them not only the protein and the calories they need, but also provides them the immune factors, antibodies, and growth hormones; things that we can’t get in the premature baby formulas,” said Dr. Kennaugh.
She encourages moms who can to donate extra milk.
“At first I didn’t want to donate because I felt that my son should come first,” said donor Tiffany James. “But now I have a whole freezer full of milk that I didn’t know what to do with.”
Her pediatrician encouraged her to donate and she couldn’t be happier she did.
“It means a lot to know that I can help other babies survive and give them a chance for their moms who can’t,” she said.
With Claire home and Alex almost ready to join her, Paola Hubert is incredibly thankful to women like Tiffany James.
“My gratitude to women who donate breast milk is more than words can express,” she said. “I can’t thank them enough because I know that my babies wouldn’t be where they are today if it wasn’t for that.”
The screening for milk donors is similar to that for donating blood. Women interested in donating can contact the local mother’s milk bank at www.milkbankcolorado.org