Singletary said she wasn't sold on the idea at first because she was unsure about the risks. But she also believed firmly that breast milk was better than formula and felt more comfortable about the idea after speaking with her doctor.
"Because he was a preemie, I especially wanted to make sure that he got all the nutrients I could give him," Singletary said.
Caleb never developed NEC and, at 2 months old, had grown to more than six pounds.
The state work group was established last year after Baltimore County Del. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam introduced legislation to require Medicaid coverage of donor milk for premature babies in intensive care. Legislators thought it was better to study the issue first.
The work group decided against pushing for legislation but included several recommendations in its final report to lawmakers on how to increase the use of donor milk. The group suggested adding the use of banked milk in the Maryland Perinatal System Standards, a set of voluntary standards for Maryland hospitals that provide obstetrical and neonatal services. It also suggested meeting with the state regulators to possibly simplify the steps to manage a donor milk bank.
"I think this is an ongoing process," said Julie Murphy, a neonatal lactation specialist at Johns Hopkins who was part of the work group. "Some institutions are ahead of others, but there is a general awareness and we're working to do more."
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