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Milk of human kindness: Breast milk donation center opens in Madison

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They’ve latched on to a great idea.

The city’s first “milk depot” — where lactating moms can donated milk for others’ hungry babies — opened on Ocean Avenue in Madison on Oct. 28. The lactation station — situated in the Brooklyn Birthing Center between Quentin Road and Avenue R — giving local babes a potentially life-saving source of natural nutrition, according to one woman, who found solace in donating mother’s milk after her own baby passed away far too young.

“They really need it for mother’s who can’t produce milk, or babies who are born too early,” said Lindsay Manolakos, who began donating milk after her son, born in March, died only a day after the celebration of his birth.

Manolakos’ newborn babe died a day after his birth in March, and the mother turned to pumping and packaging the milk meant for her departed child to cope with his absence, she said.

“I wanted his life to mean something,” she said.

The act of producing nutrition for another became empowering, she said.

“It felt like magic somehow, that I was turning spaghetti and salad into milk,” she explained. “I felt like I had a super power.”

The depot operates much the same as blood centers, taking donations and sending them to a central bank — in this case, in Boston — for pasteurization, according to Linda Gaglioti, the Madison center’s director of midwifery.

The depot also tests would-be donors’ blood to make sure they are healthy — sans collection center, dairy-donating moms would have to draw their own blood and send it to Massachusetts for testing, Gaglioti said.

“We make it convenient for moms,” she explained.

The Madison birthing center also boasts two professional lactation consultants who counsel mothers on the myriad questions that arise when breast-feeding, Gaglioti said.

But the need for mother’s milk is ever-growing, and Gaglioti said she hopes the depot will inspire more women to donate their dairy.

“It’s like blood,” she said. “There’s never enough.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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