Children's Hospital Colorado in Colorado Springs opened a new human milk donation center Tuesday.
The hospital will be joining the network of Mothers' Milk Bank, which is based out of Colorado. It is the largest non-profit milk bank in the world, according to its website.
Children's Hospital Colorado has been a recipient of the Mothers' Milk Bank for nearly 30 years, but by becoming a donation and outreach center, it hopes to give women the opportunity to donate to an organization that may have cared for their own babies in the past.
The program serves 120 different Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) across the country.
Donating human milk is considered especially important for babies in the NICU, Children's Hospital Colorado said in a news release.
"Donated human milk is an essential resource for micro-preemie babies, who are born months before their due date, and babies who have challenges with drug exposure in utero, special dietary needs, dehydration, undeveloped immune systems, and/or abdominal and gastrointestinal defects."
Human milk carries special nutrients helpful to growth and development, that can not be found among any other kind of milk, said Tina Means, senior milk lab technician.
Laraine Lockhart Borman, director of outreach at Mothers' Milk Bank added that one ounce of human milk "can feed a micro-preemie in the NICU for a full day."
If you would like to be a donor or volunteer, you can find more information and eligibility requirements here.