Exciting news for Olmsted County residents! On September 14, 2016 Olmsted Medical Center officially began accepting breast milk donations as a Mother’s Milk Depot for the Mother’s Milk Bank of Iowa. The depot is managed by Lactation Services at OMC’s Women’s Health Pavilion. Local mothers can begin donating by completing the screening process through Mother’s Milk Bank of Iowa, once they receive their donor number they may start dropping milk off at the depot. The depot will be open 24/7, you can schedule a time to drop off by calling Lactation Services, 507-529-6758. Parking is close to the building and mothers are welcome to bring their infant and/or other children with them when dropping off their milk.
Breast milk must be frozen when it is dropped off, the milk will be collected in a freezer and then sent to Mother’s Milk Bank of Iowa for pasteurizing and distribution. The nutritional and immunologic elements of the breast milk remain intact through the pasteurization process. Pasteurized human milk has not been linked to the transmission of any disease. The pasteurized milk is stored frozen until prescribed by a physician for an infant.
The World Health Organization states that in the situations where an infant cannot or should not be breastfed from the infant’s own mother that the best alternative is “milk expressed from a healthy wet-nurse, donor or from a human-milk bank depending on the individual circumstances.” As a mother who has taken advantage of the use of donor milk through informal donation, I am thrilled to see this opportunity arise in our community. I hope that it encourages women to engage in conversations with their care providers about the most up-to-date infant feeding recommendations and to feel empowered in their choices.
As a doula, I let my clients know breast is not best, but it is biologically normal. There are obvious health advantages of using human breast milk in tiny, premature babies; potentially preventing life-threatening infections. Breast milk provides complete nutritional requirements and offers the best developmental outcomes for these susceptible babies.
The donor milk collected at the OMC depot will be utilized by mothers across Iowa and Minnesota for both premature and term infants; hospitalized premature infants, infants born with immunological defects, mother’s with insufficient milk supply, adopted infants, and cases where a mother’s illness requires brief cessation of breast feeding. OMC is working so that hopefully donor milk may become available directly to mothers in the BirthCenter for newborns who require supplementation before their mother’s milk has come in and is available to them.
Would you donate if you had a surplus of milk? Would you pursue donor milk in lieu of formula if unable to provide your own milk? Regardless of where you camp in the infant feeding spectrum, we can all agree that options are empowering.