NewsSarasota, Manatee County


Sarasota Memorial opens Milk Depot at the new SMH-Venice campus

The milk helps struggling premature babies
Sarasota Memorial opens Milk Depot at the new SMH-Venice campus
Posted at 9:27 PM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-05 06:34:01-04

VENICE, Fla. — Sarasota Memorial Hospital opened its second Milk Depot at its new Venice campus.

Local moms may donate breast milk to help struggling premature babies.

Sarasota Memorial sent us video of the first donor dropping off breast milk. Brittany Brighenti has donated more than 800 ounces of breast milk since her son, Carter, was born in December. The new campus is convenient and she no longer has to drive 45 minutes to drop off milk.

"Having a preemie was a whole new world," Brighenti said. "It was a scary experience, but I was grateful I was able to produce breast milk, but I know a lot of women aren’t."

Sarasota Memorial first established its first Milk Depot at the Sarasota campus in 2015. So far in 2022, local women have donated more than 6,000 ounces of breast milk through Sarasota Memorial. The milk collected at both sites is collected by Mothers' Milk Bank of Florida and distributed to NICUs throughout the state including SMH-Sarasota campus.

"They make it very easy to drop off breast milk," Brighenti said. "They mail you bags and donor labels. All you need to do is put it in the bag, put the donor label on it, freeze it and then you can just pull right up, give them a call and they come out and grab it."

Typically, babies weighing less than three pounds are the ones receiving the milk. The milk is pasteurized to kill any bacteria or viruses and analyzed for calorie and protein content.

"Human breast milk is equivalent to blood, it saves lives," Director for Women's and Perioperative Services at SMH-Venice Judy Cavallaro said. "Our smallest patients are in an intensive care unit. Moms understand and know how important breast milk is for them for their growth, their development."

Local moms interested in donating milk and the screening process may call the Mothers' Milk Bank of Florida at (407) 248-5050 or online.