Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital is now a collection site for Mothers' Milk Bank Austin, a nonprofit organization that accepts donated breast milk to meet the needs of babies in neonatal intensive care units, or NICUs, according to a recent press release.

The Willowbrook location will allow easier access for northwest Houstonians to donate breast milk, which is in high demand, according to officials. Eligible donors include women who are currently breastfeeding infants younger than 1.

“Our reputation for providing safe, nutritionally analyzed and labeled donor breast milk to hospitals and outpatients has led to tremendous growth in demand—a challenge and also a success,” said Kim Updegrove, executive director of Mothers’ Milk Bank Austin, in a statement. “By partnering with Houston Methodist Willowbrook, we will raise awareness with a vital audience: breastfeeding women who are uniquely qualified to help save the lives of premature and critically ill babies.”

The release said nonprofit milk banks such as MMBA ensure donor breast milk is safe and available to meet the specific needs of sick and fragile babies. About 4,000 infants are delivered every year at Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital, and about 400 of those require treatment in NICUs annually.

“We always hope for smooth deliveries and healthy babies, but Houston Methodist Willowbrook is prepared for when things don’t go as planned,” said Tammy Sullivan, NICU manager at Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital. “We have a top-notch medical care team, from physicians to lactation specialists to nurses, who consistently go above and beyond to provide the best care for mother and baby.”

Women interested in donating may call to receive a free screening process via telephone at 877-813-6455.