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Sacred Heart Opens Breast Milk Dispensary

effort connects donors, babies who need a boost

Photo: HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital
Photo: HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital

Then it comes to breastfeeding newborns, scientists and doctors alike can affirm one truth: breast is best. But a new mom’s journey with breastfeeding can often be a struggle – whether that’s because of a low milk supply, because of an illness or a medication, or because they have a child via adoption or surrogacy. “It’s not always easy,” said Denyse Schroeder, a lactation specialist and registered nurse. 

HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital looks to fill the need for breast milk through western Wisconsin’s first dispensary and depot in partnership with the Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes. This effort seeks to encourage moms (and newborns!) not to give up on breastfeeding, despite the challenges. It also enables medical staff to properly help babies with low blood sugar or who were born prematurely and who need the extra milk. 

“We are so excited and proud that we are able to partner with our community… to be able to provide this service for our parents and newborns,” said Maria Greene, director of the Women and Infants Center at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital. 

“We are so excited and proud that we are able to partner with our community… to be able to provide this service for our parents and newborns,” said Maria Greene, director of the Women and Infants Center at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital. 

The depot and dispensary are open 24/7 to help all local moms. Breast milk donors are sent a kit to be screened for communicable diseases, alcohol, and drugs to ensure safety and quality. They donate with an anonymous donor number, and the milk is put in a secure freezer before being sent to Mothers’ Milk Bank, where it is tested, pasteurized, and then sent back to HSHS Sacred Heart, following regulations set forth by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. 

Breast milk, unlike formula, offers countless benefits to both mom and baby, according to Schroeder. It’s a child’s first immunization, which sets the baby up for long-term health, particularly when it comes to immune health. It helps prevent allergies, respiratory disease, and serious infection, and promotes brain development for baby. Breastfeeding also helps a mother bond with her baby (and often releases oxytocin – the happiness hormone). 


For more information on how to become a breast milk donor or recipient, check out www.sacredhearteauclaire.org/milkbank

 

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