As seen in the Pioneer Press and Twincities.com November 16, 2015 by Kelsy Ketchum, U of M intern, Pioneer Press reporter
Photo: Emily LaBadie shows one of the 49 (4 ounce) containers of breast milk that she dropped off at the Hudson Hospital Birth Center on earlier this month. LaBadie has dropped off 900 ounces since August. 30. Hudson Hospital Birth Center now offers a Milk Depot Prgram making it possible for women with an able supply of breast milk to share that gift with an infant in need.(Pioneer Press: Jean Pieri)
New moms looking for a place to donate their extra breast milk have another resource in the Twin Cities metro area. Hudson Hospital &Clinic in Hudson, Wis., recently opened its Breast Milk Depot in the Birth Center, where women with an abundance of breast milk can share it with infants in need. One of those women is Emily LaBadie of River Falls, Wis. She started donating milk in July after realizing she had too much for just her newborn daughter Stella, her first child. "I had a freezer full of milk already, that I'm just like, 'I don't have any room for anything else in my freezer,' and that's when I knew, 'OK, I have to start donating this milk,' " LaBadie said.
Breast milk donor Emily Labadie, left, talks with Erica Hanson, center, and Jessica Altman, both RNs and lactation consultants at Hudson Hospital on Wednesday, November 11, 2015. Labadie has donated 900 ounces of breast milk since August 30. Hudson Hospital Birth Center now offers Milk Depot Program making it possible for women with an ample supply of breast milk to share that gift with an infant in need.
The hospital established the depot after partnering with the Mother's Milk Bank of Iowa, one of 20 milk banks in North America.The milk bank collects and processes donated milk from hospitals with depots and distributes it to hospitals across the Midwest, said Jessica Altman, a lactation consultant for the hospital. The Iowa milk bank is the closest to the Twin Cities and Wisconsin and serves five states, including Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota.
FOUR DONORS SO FAR
At Hudson, donor milk is offered to moms whose milk hasn't come in yet or who are sick and unable to breastfeed, Altman said. The milk is also offered to babies with low blood sugar or high levels of jaundice, she said.
It's believed that 1 percent to 5 percent of new moms can't produce enough breast milk for their babies, though that number may vary depending on how one defines "enough." Donor milk has been offered to new mothers by the hospital for the past two years, but the depot started accepting donations this summer, Altman said. The hospital just got its fourth donor, but it hopes to increase that number, she said.
Would-be donor moms are screened first and must undergo a blood test. They are then asked to produce around 200 ounces of breast milk over the course of their time breastfeeding, or about 10 to 20 ounces a week.
Hudson Hospital also offers lactation consultants for new moms, who can help them with any breastfeeding problems they may have. LaBadie said she has called on the consultants for advice numerous times and at all hours. "The first one was like 6 o'clock in the morning when I woke up with a blocked milk duct ... random times over the weekend for just random questions about breast feeding," LaBadie said. "They've been awesome to work with." The hospital also offers new parenting classes and support groups, which is where LaBadie first learned of the depot.
Another appealing aspect of the milk depot was the low cost of implementation. The Iowa milk bank provided the freezer for the depot and picks up the milk once the freezer is full, so there's no cost to the hospital. The milk bank also pays for the medical testing of donors and sterile containers for the breast milk, LaBadie said.
FEW AND FAR BETWEEN
Hudson Hospital is the only hospital in western Wisconsin with a human donor milk program, said Stacy Lenzen, senior communications generalist for the hospital. The closest other depot where moms can donate their breast milk is at North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale.
Breast Milk for Babies, a nonprofit group, has led a push to establish a milk bank in the Twin Cities so that milk is available closer to babies who need it, said president Evelyn Lindholm. "We just know that breast milk is so important to those tiny babies," Lindholm said. "We know that these human babies need human milk: they deserve a healthy life." Establishing a milk bank is expected to cost $300,000, she said. The organization has received a March of Dimes grant for $12,000 and is applying for more grants, she said. The group hopes to open a milk bank in early 2016.
LaBadie said she is still reaping the benefits of donating to the depot in Hudson. "It's a whole other feeling that I've never had, after having Stella," LaBadie said. "I'm like, oh my gosh, I can help other babies be as strong as her."
See the full article at Twincities.com.
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