Brave Beginnings awarded a $50,000 grant on August 7, 2015 to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, California. The grant will be used to purchase a Breast Milk Analyzer for their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Santa Clara Valley Medical Center is one of the largest birthing centers in California with 3,500 babies born annually, approximately 300 of whom are admitted to the NICU. It is the largest provider of charity healthcare in the Silicon Valley region; the overwhelming majority of patients are low-income and medically underserved. Also important to note is that while the population of Santa Clara County has increased 22% over the past two decades, the number of patients at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center has increased by 200%.

This is the first Breast Milk Analyzer Brave Beginnings has   helped purchase for a hospital. On a recent visit to the neonatal unit,   Dr. Sudha Rani Narasimhan, Neonatologist and Medical Director of Lactation Services, explains that nutrition is a vital component in all infants, but it is even more vital in those born prematurely. In many cases of premature birth, the digestive tract is incredibly sensitive and not yet fully developed. Many studies show that breast milk provides unique immunological components that are not available in substitute formulas.

While breast milk is arguably the best source of nutrition for premature babies, environmental factors such as the stress of being in a neonatal unit, can have an impact on the quality of the milk produced by the mother. Since precise nutrition is imperative to the growth and development of these tiny patients, understanding exactly what is in the breast milk is key. With a breast milk analyzer, the milk can be tested for components such as protein, fat, lactose and overall caloric content. Once the results have been reviewed, the doctors and nurses in the NICU can decide if the breast milk needs to be supplemented in order to best serve the tiny patient.

Santa Clara Valley Medical Center is among 22 recipients of grant money from Brave Beginnings in 2015. This cycle the program committed nearly $1 million in grants for neonatal intensive care units to purchase life-saving equipment.