First public breast milk depot in Minnesota opens in Cambridge

Helping cut the ribbon at the opening of the Breast Milk Depot were (far right) Isanti County Commissioner Susan Morris and (second from right) Tony Buttacavoli, Isanti County Public Health Director. 

Submitted

The Isanti County Public Health Department takes the wellbeing of the community’s new mothers and babies very seriously and has a passion for bringing the best new advancements in health education and resources to the forefront of their care. In correlation with their department’s vision of “empowering our community to choose health and safety,” they are now offering a Breast Milk Depot for the nursing mothers and babies of Isanti County.

Driven by the knowledge that every mother’s journey to feeding their growing baby can be different and challenging as they begin this new stage in life, this ideal led them to expand upon the many services already offered at their location at 555 18th Avenue SW, Cambridge. Meeting with new moms every day and listening to their needs when the topic of breastfeeding was brought up allowed for some insight. 

Any nursing mother may suffer from low milk production at times and need help. One situation where supplemental milk is often required is premature 

births where there may not be enough milk produced at the initial birth to provide for the baby in its critical first hours of life. 

“Some babies born premature or with special needs or start life out in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUS) –” said Barb Anderson, WIC Coordinator for Isanti County Public Health, “when given human milk, they have improved health outcomes, and there is also a reduction in healthcare costs for these babies.”

            Isanti program is first in minnesota

Isanti County is the first county in the state of Minnesota to offer this program. The program is mainly stationed out of Illinois through a program called Mother’s Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes. The bank provides pasteurized human milk to premature or critically ill babies and distributes reduced-cost or free donor milk to chronically ill middle- and low-income children. 

“The opportunity to start this came when the Minnesota Breastfeeding Coalition held a conference and one of the displays was about “milk bank milk,” Anderson said. “I did not know about this, and once I learned more I realized that all babies should have the opportunity to a healthy start in life. Since the nearest facilities are located in suburban Chicago or Coralville, Iowa, we need a milk bank in Minnesota. By having milk depots, there will be enough milk collected to have our own.” 

There are a few hospitals throughout the state that do offer breast milk from donations, but it is not fully advertised. Mothers are encouraged to ask their local hospital to find out. 

 The Donation Process

Donating milk to the program is geared toward mothers experiencing an over-production of milk, have completed breastfeeding their own baby and have stored a frozen milk supply.   

“The best way to get started is to call the number on the brochure,” Anderson said. “They will take a short screening over the phone, and once that is done will send moms a paper questionnaire. The Milk Bank will provide containers and will have easy directions. They can then drop it off at the Isanti County Public Health Office, and we will take it from there to get it to Chicago.” 

At the headquarters in Chicago, milk goes through a screening process to be tested and pasteurized, then conveniently delivered to moms in need in Minnesota. 

For further information about the program or how to receive milk, contact the Isanti County Public Health Department at 763-689-4212.  

To learn about donating milk contact the Mother’s Milk Bank at 847-262-5134 or visit www.milkbankwgl.org. 

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