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OMC’s Milk Depot is now accepting milk donations

The first in the area, OMC’s Milk Depot is now accepting milk donations from approved mothers.

Pasteurized donor human milk is an important nutritional therapy for many at-risk Neonatal Intensive Care Unit babies as it provides numerous benefits in the absence of the mother’s milk, including infection-fighting factors, active growth and development hormones, improved digestion, and ideal nutrition, according to Kayli Schounard, DI manager.

While OMC supports breastfeeding whenever possible, donor milk can be used when the mother has a low milk supply, is ill, is on certain medications or is involved in adoption or surrogacy. Kayli, who also is OMC’s lactation counselor, was excited about this program and knew that it would be a great fit. “OMC is committed to giving all newborns a healthy start, and we knew just how impactful this program would be to our youngest patients.”

Kayli was awarded two grants for this program. One was from the Mother’s Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes to purchase the freezer necessary to become a depot, and the other from Osceola Community Health Foundation to provide funds for the first year’s worth of human milk.

The Milk Depot at OMC will collect human milk donations from healthy, lactating women who are approved through Mothers’ Milk Bank. The donations will be sent to the organization for pasteurization to eliminate any viruses and bacteria. After pasteurization, the milk is tested once again for safety before being distributed to hospitals.

“Rigorous safety protocols ensure that pasteurized donor human milk is safe when it’s provided from a milk bank that adheres to guidelines from the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. Potential donors are blood tested and thoroughly screened for communicable diseases, activities that increase the risk of blood borne diseases, and the use of tobacco, alcohol and medications,” said Summer Kelly, Executive Director of the Mothers’ Milk Bank. “Milk collected from OMC’s milk depot will help support the complex nutritional needs of sick and premature babies in Illinois and Wisconsin.”

OMC has implemented the use of human milk when supplementation is warranted, and has become a depot so the members of our community have a local place to donate their own milk. The closest depot to OMC currently is Cambridge or St. Paul.

“Breastmilk contains numerous health benefits to our youngest patients” explained Erika Helgerson, DO, family medicine provider at OMC. “It contains antibodies that help prevent serious infections, protects against diseases and also helps promote neurological development. We are proud to offer this service to moms and babies in our community.”

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