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MCHENRY, Ill., Dec. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Medela announced today the winning neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) from its Virtual Human Milk (breastmilk) Collection Campaign in honor of prematurity awareness and the 500,000 families impacted by premature births each year. In support of the March of Dimes' National Prematurity Awareness Month, several thousand participants across the U.S. voted for their preferred NICU to win Medela products for their facility.

Each of the six following award recipients will receive $5,000 in neonatal human milk support products from Medela, including Symphony® Preemie+program cards, Symphony breastpumps, Waterless Milk Warmers™, Transport/Discharge Bags and/or BabyWeigh II™ scales:

New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, N.C. Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wis. Saint Vincent Health Center in Erie, Pa. Baptist Medical Center East in Montgomery, Ala. St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Oakland, Mich. Dallas Methodist Medical Center in Dallas, Texas

"Our goals for this campaign are to help raise awareness of the importance of human milk and support mothers and healthcare professionals to successfully provide breastmilk to babies in the NICU who need it most," said Carolin Archibald, president of Medela. "The value of breastmilk is immeasurable for the health benefits it provides infants in the NICU. Breastmilk is nature's medicine, protecting premature babies from serious complications and infections during and after their hospital stay."

A full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks. In the U.S., more than half a million babies are born premature, prior to 37 weeks of gestation. Premature birth is a serious health issue in the U.S. and for impacted families. Premature babies have a higher risk for health complications, and most require care in a NICU. NICUs play a vital role in the surv

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