Breast milk donor depot, dispensary to open in Portland –

Dr. Ali Kopelman is opening a donor milk depot and dispensary at Personalized Pediatrics, her direct primary care practice. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

A Portland pediatrician’s office is making it easier for mothers having trouble producing breast milk to provide it to their babies.

Personalized Pediatrics of Maine, at 205 Ocean Ave., will open a donor milk depot and dispensary next week in partnership with Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast.

In 2020, Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast dispensed 522,137 ounces of donor milk across the Northeast. Contributed / Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast

Donor milk dispensaries are a “forward-thinking and innovative way” to ensure that as many babies as possible have access to human milk, said Ann Marie Lindquist, director of community relations for Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast.

It is particularly important, Lindquist said, to have a place where families can both donate and pick up milk.

The donor milk can serve as “a bridge” to future breastfeeding for the mother and baby or can serve as a supplement for formula feeding, said Dr. Ali Kopelman, a certified lactation consultant since 2017.

Emily Piller of Saco received donor milk for her baby in January at Maine Medical Center, one of the Maine hospitals supplied by Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast.

“My baby was born a month early and we spent a week in the hospital. Because I couldn’t go to the (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), I was asked do I want donor milk or formula. I was adamant it would be breast milk,” Piller said. “The hospital gave me donor milk until I could produce milk. It was three days before I could do that.”

While Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast is “grateful” infant formula exists, Lindquist said, breast milk is “really important in the early days and early weeks”

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