Breastfeeding mothers in Sugar Land can help others in need of assistance with feeding their children by donating extra breast milk at the new milk collection site at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital.

The overview

Started in December, the Sugar Land milk collection site within the Childbirth Center at 16655 Southwest Freeway, Sugar Land, aims to address the growing need of breast milk in neonatal intensive care units across the country, according to a Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital news release.

The site is serviced by Mothers’ Milk Bank Austin, a nonprofit that works to collect, pasteurize and dispense donor milk to premature and ill infants through prescriptions, according to the release. Donor milk can also benefit families in crisis, including those affected by maternal emergencies or formula shortages.

“We are thrilled and proud to offer this service to moms and babies in our community,” said Theresa Walters, the hospital's NICU manager. “We are dedicated to the health and growth of our smallest community members, and this is another impactful way we can meet their needs.”

There are also milk collection sites at Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital and Houston Methodist Willowbrook, said Amanda Gamez, senior communications specialist at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, in an email.

What they’re saying

Registered nurse Hailey Stanford was the first to make a donation at the Sugar Land site, bringing 1,740 ounces upon the site’s ribbon-cutting. Stanford’s second-born son was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, which left him unable to breastfeed and led her to oversupply milk, she said in the release.

“I knew I wanted to donate my milk to help other mothers, and I’m honored to be the first donor at our hospital,” Stanford said. “I understand how disappointing it can be to want to breastfeed your baby and not be able to, so I wanted to help ease some of that stress.”

By the numbers

In 2022, Mothers’ Milk Bank Austin had 1,094 donors who produced 868,000 ounces of breast milk for the nonprofit, according to the release.

“Our reputation for providing safe, nutritionally analyzed and labeled donor human 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. “By partnering with Houston Methodist Childbirth Center at Sugar Land, we will raise our awareness with a vital audience—breastfeeding women who are uniquely qualified to help save the lives of premature and critically ill babies.”

Since its opening, the Sugar Land milk collection site has received donations from 20 mothers at an estimated 16,600 ounces of milk, Gamez said.

How to help

Women who are breastfeeding infants under 1 year old are eligible to be screened for free to determine if they are eligible to become a donor, according to the release.

Mothers who are interested in donating their breast milk should call 877-813-6455 to schedule a screening.