As a leader in rural healthcare, LifeCare Medical Center prides itself on setting the bar in making a positive impact on others.
Today, LifeCare celebrates World Breast Feeding Week by featuring the “Milk Depot”. LifeCare lead the way by becoming the first Minnesota hospital north of Wadena to open a human milk collection site.
Simply put, this effort, known as a Milk Depot, is a place where women can bring extra breast milk to donate for other babies.
“The goal is to ensure that vulnerable babies can get safely pasteurized human donor milk when a mother’s own milk is unavailable or in low supply,” say LifeCare’s Certified Lactation Consultant (CLC), Alicia Huston, RN.
As often happens with premature births, medically fragile infants require supplemental milk when a mother has not yet started producing milk in the first critical stage of the baby’s life, according to Huston.
“Breast milk is frequently prescribed since it is easier to digest and helpful to a babies immune system,” she says.
The result is a need for donors!
Mom’s are required to go through a specific process in order to become a human milk donor. There is a strict screening process which includes a health and lifestyle screen and blood test. After approved, the donors milk is brought frozen to LifeCare’s Milk Depot, and is later transported to the Minnesota Milk Bank for Babies in Golden Valley, MN. From there, the breast milk is distributed to medically fragile infants in NICU’s, Special Care Nurseries, and other inpatients settings.
“Since the inception of the program, about three years ago, our community has really done a great job of putting LifeCare on the map as one of twenty-nine Milk Depots in the state of Minnesota,” says Heidi Lien, RN, CLC.
Thanks to this program it is now convenient for women, like LifeCare’s Laboratory Assistant, Ashley Tesarek to make breast milk donations. “It is so rewarding to know that through my milk donations, I am able to help babies that are in critical need of my gift,” says Tesaerk.
“Five moms from throughout Roseau County have dedicated their time to supply breast milk to the Depot,” says Sarah Picard, RN, CLC. “We are so grateful for all of our donors. So far we have been able to deliver 17,561 ounces of milk to the Minnesota Milk Bank,” says Picard.
“It is a huge commitment and it takes much effort to pump breast milk,” says Lien. “However, it can be very gratifying too. We encourage women, not only in Roseau County, but throughout the region, who have extra breast milk beyond what their children need, to consider donating to the LifeCare Milk Depot. Every ounce counts.”
To become a breast milk donor or to learn more about LifeCare’s Milk Depot, contact a Certified Lactation Consultant at 218-452-0591 or go online to www.mnmilkbank.org.
Pictured is LifeCare’s Laboratory Assistant, Ashley Tesarek, who poses with some of the Milk that she has donated to the LifeCare Milk Depot.