FARMINGTON, Conn. (AP) — The University of Connecticut’s John Dempsey Hospital is opening the state’s first milk depot.

The center, which operates like a blood bank, will serve as collection point for the distribution of donated, pasteurized human milk to babies at neonatal intensive care units across the northeast.

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The hospital will be working with Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast to find and screen breast milk donors in Connecticut.

(Photo credit: Kristin Wallace/UConn Health)

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The donations will be accepted at the hospital and kept at UConn Health in a new freezer before being shipped to the Mothers’ Milk Bank in Massachusetts for pasteurization processing and distribution.

UConn officials say mothers with premature newborns often experience difficulty creating enough breast milk while their baby is in intensive care. They say donor milk is a more beneficial substitute than formula.

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