During this difficult time, we must continue providing safe milk to babies with medical needs. Our strict standards for facility sanitization and donor milk screening remain in effect. We closely follow CDC, HMBANA, city, and hospital updates so we can continue to operate and maintain a safe environment for our staff, recipients, donors and milk supply.
We’ve modified a few policies and procedures to further protect our operations, donors, and recipients:
- Our office is temporarily closed to all visitors and volunteers, for the protection of our staff
- Austin-area milk donors who are dropping off milk at our office should call us from your car, and a staff member will come out to pick up your milk.
- Austin-area milk recipients who need to pick up milk should call us from your car, and a staff member will come out with the milk.
- Donors outside the Austin area, please continue to ship your milk using our coolers and UPS services, or drop off your milk at one of our depots.
- Recipient families and hospitals receiving donor human milk will continue to receive milk held to the same safety standards as always.
Our need for milk is increasing: we encourage all healthy women in their first year postpartum to consider donating at this time. Our 4 step screening process can be started today. Please call us at 877-813-6455 between 9-5 central Monday – Friday or fill out our online form!
Rebuttal of Non-Evidence-Based Recommendations for the Safe Handling of Containers of Expressed Human Milk in all Settings During the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Pandemic
Milk Collection Site (Depot) Updates
- Breastfeeding Center for Greater Washington 1020 19th St NW, Suite 150 Washington, DC – All drop offs must be scheduled. Please text or call at 202-293-5182 to schedule a milk drop off appointment. Curbside pickup is not available during COVID, so donors will instead park and carry their milk inside.
- Texas Lactation Consultants 2401 Yale Ave. Houston, TX 77008 – Call 713-884-6204 to make sure you can drop-off since the store is closed to the public. Hours: 9 AM-11 AM Monday to Friday.
- Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital 9250 Pinecroft The Woodlands, TX 77380 – Temporarily closed until further notice. The HCA Houston Healthcare Kingwood depot is the next closest depot in the area and remains open. Call at 281-348-8342 Hours: Mondays 9:30am-12pm
- Woman’s Hospital of Texas 7600 Fannin, Houston, TX 77054 – New instructions: Go to the West Tower Entrance and let the parking attendant know that you are here to donate milk only. Bring your donation and picture ID with you when you enter the West Tower Lobby, where your brief COVID screening will be performed. From there, take a few steps to the check-in desk and let the Ambassador know you’re there to donate milk. Here are 3 ways to reach the West Tower Entrance:
- 7900 Fannin Building entrance at Fannin. This entrance is 7900 just past the 7600 Fannin Emergency Room entrance. Upon entry, proceed a short distance to the stop sign and turn right. At the end of the path you will see another stop sign. The West Tower Entrance will be on your right hand side.
- 7580 and 7700 Fannin entrance at Greenbriar. Travel straight ahead to the stop sign. The West Tower Entrance will be in front of you, on the right hand side.
- 7580, 7600, 7700 Fannin Building entrance on Old Spanish Trail. Travel straight ahead to the stop sign, then turn left. The West Tower Entrance will be in front of you on the right hand side.
- Mom’s Place WIC Breastfeeding Clinic 8701-B Research Blvd. Austin, TX 78758 – Please call at 512-972-6700 when you are in the parking lot, and a staff member will come out. Hours: 8 AM – 4:30 PM Monday to Friday.
- Pediatric Junction 211 Railroad St Buda, Texas 78526 – Please call at 512-312-5312 when you are in the parking lot, and a staff member will come out. Hours: 8 AM – 5 PM Monday -Thursday, Friday 8:00am-12:00pm
- Seton Northwest Hospital 11113 Research Blvd. Austin, TX 78759 – The hospital’s front entrance is open, so you may bring your milk in and leave it with front desk staff. Hours: 24/7
- Memphis Regional One 877 Jefferson Ave, Memphis, TN 38103 – Now offering curbside pickup. Please call 901-545-7736. A lactation consultant will collect your milk in the circle drive of the Rout Center building. Hours: Monday- Thursday, 6:00am-4:00pm
- Nashville General Hospital, Women’s Health Services, 4th Floor, 1818 Albion St., Nashville, TN 37208 – Now offering curbside pickup. Please call 615-948-2895 to schedule your drop-off. Upon arrival, call 615-341-4274 for curbside-pickup. Hours: Monday- Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm
Considerations for Covid-19 Vaccination in Lactation
We are excited about the possibility afforded by a vaccine protecting against COVID-19, but dismayed that breastfeeding women were not present in the studies of efficacy or safety. The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine summarizes well the concerns and opportunities afforded by the vaccines. Read the ABM statement for more information.
Lactating women who wish to be considered for milk donations can receive the vaccine without deferral. As described by the ABM and others, this vaccine is unlikely to enter the mother’s bloodstream and less likely to enter breast milk.
Vaccine Advice for Milk Banks
The Standards Committee has reviewed available information regarding the newly released Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 and its implications for milk donation. At this time, little is known about its implications for pregnant and lactating women, however the vaccine is a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine, it is not considered a live vaccine and therefore should not be a problem for milk donors. According to the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM), it is unlikely that the intact nanoparticle or mRNA would transfer into human milk; and “in the unlikely event that mRNA is present in milk, it would be expected to be digested by the child and would be unlikely to have any biological effects.” We will continue to investigate the data and update this information as it becomes available.
For now, lactating women are asked to assess their own risks for the virus versus the benefits of vaccination. We know that milk cannot transmit the virus, therefore donors who receive the vaccine will be permitted to continue donating milk without deferral. Read the ABM statement for more information.
Please keep safe, wash your hands, and stay smart and calm!