The Healing Power of Human Milk

Showcasing New Documentary to Raise Awareness About the Value of Donor Milk
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Medela Inc., today announced a partnership with King West Pictures and the Northwest Mothers Milk Bank (NWMMB) to increase awareness of human milk banks and the value of breastmilk feeding, especially for preterm babies. The collaborators will launch the film screening series this summer to showcase families helping to provide the life-saving benefits of breastmilk including to preterm babies in neonatal intensive care units (NICU). On Wednesday, August 8, 2012, in Portland, OR, at the Hollywood Theatre at 7:00 p.m. and on Thursday, August 9, 2012, in Seattle, WA, at the Landmark Varsity Theatre at 7:00 p.m., Medela will be hosting screenings of Donor Milk: the Documentary. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Northwest Mothers Milk Bank.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, UNICEF, and the U.S. Surgeon General, breast milk provides the optimal nutrition for babies (i,ii,iii). Human milk acts as medicine for preterm babies and has proven to reduce incidents of necrotizing enterocolitis and other fatal diseases common among preterm babies in the NICU. In the United States, the rate of premature births has been increasing, and this year more than 517,000 babies will be born premature. On average, 89 babies are born preterm each week in Oregon and 177 are born preterm each week in Washington. More than 40 authors of a recent global action study on premature births found that the United States ranks number six among all nations when it comes to rates of prematurity. To date, there are only 11 human milk banks in the nation designed to support families in need of breastmilk when a mother is unable to provide breastmilk for her infant.

Donor Milk: the Documentary highlights the benefits that donated breastmilk brings, not just to the recipient of the milk, but also to the mothers providing the milk. The documentary recounts the stories of real families, including screenwriter and filmmaker Kevin West and his wife's tragedy of losing their baby, late in term. His wife was able to cope with the loss by donating her breastmilk to sick and preterm babies in need. Based on their experiences, West wrote and directed the film with co-producer Jarred King.

"After viewing Donor Milk: the Documentary, Medela and NWMMB wanted to share the passion and commitment of this film with the community at large," said June Winfield, Board Chairman of NWMMB. "Working together, we are able to do more to raise awareness about the importance of human milk donations, provide education for health professionals, and support the opening of the human milk bank in Portland."

Medela, the leading provider of breastfeeding research and education, lactation innovation and breast pumps, works daily with professionals in the breastfeeding community on the impact of human milk to health-compromised babies in the NICU.

"Medela is honored to sponsor the screening of Donor Milk: the Documentary. Our destiny is to enhance mother and baby health through the life-giving benefits of breastmilk. No film to date can express this sentiment better than the selfless acts provided by these remarkable families," said Carolin Archibald, president of Medela, Inc. "This film brings hope and promise to all involved – the infants and the parents."

For a $25 donation, guests will view the 50-minute documentary and attend a one-hour Q&A session featuring Kevin West and Jarred King, June Winfield from the NWMMB, as well as a donor of breastmilk and recipient of donor milk. At no additional charge, Medela will provide credit from the CA Board of Registered Nursing and the Commission of Dietetic Registration for nurses and dietitians attending the screening event.

In addition to sponsoring the screening and providing continuing education credits to health care professional attendees, Medela will match ticket sales from the night's showing to provide an unrestricted donation to the NWMMB.

"Current milk banks cannot keep up with the demand for donor human milk for infants with compromised health. We applaud and support the efforts of the NWMMB to provide human milk for medical needs," stated Archibald.

For more information on this event, or other events, please visit one of the partner sites at: nwmmb.org, kingwestpictures.com, or medela.com.