Breast milk depot opens in Manhattan

- The Upper Breast Side on the Upper West Side has everything when it comes to nursing. The store also doubles as a breast milk depot. Store owner Felina Rakowski-Gallagher collects bags of pre-screened donated breast milk and stores it in this freezer. She is collecting it ahead of the 2016 opening of the New York Milk Bank in Westchester County.

"We are opening up these milk depots which are collection sites where a mother can easily drop off her milk once she's been approved as a donor," said Julie Bouchet-Horwitz, the executive director of the New York Milk Bank.

After donor moms leave their milk at a depot, collectors like Felina then box it up and send it out to a lab. It's mixed, tested, and pasteurized. Then 4- to 8-ounce bottles are filled and shipped out.

Upper Breast Side is the first depot to open up in New York City. It is one of seven across the state. More will open up in the coming months to help increase supply. The breast milk is distributed to hospitals for premature babies and mothers with a proper prescription. Experts say it is safe for babies to have a different mother's breast milk.

"Human milk is species-specific," Bouchet-Horwitz said. "Human milk was meant for human babies. It's designed by whoever to be the right proteins, minerals, et cetera."

The increased supply will soon help more New York babies. 

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