National Breastfeeding Month: Aspirus highlights Breast Milk Program, encourages mothers to donate
For the Tomahawk Leader
WISCONSIN – As part of National Breastfeeding Month, Aspirus Health recently provided information about its Breast Milk Program that is helping families struggling to feed their babies.
The Aspirus Breast Milk donation program at the Aspirus Wausau Hospital (AWH) and Aspirus Stevens Point Hospital (ASP) depots have collected a total of over 11,000 pounds of donated milk in the program’s nine years, totaling nearly 1,318 gallons of milk, Aspirus said in a release.
AWH and ASP serve as depot centers for The Mother’s Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes, a certified breast milk bank located near Chicago.
There are several drop-off sites located across the Aspirus Health system where mothers can donate their breast milk, including Aspirus’ locations in Merrill, Rhinelander, and Antigo. View a list of drop-off sites at www.aspirus.org/breast-milk-donation.
“Women who are breastfeeding may have an overabundance of milk, and for a variety of reasons, might not use all of their milk,” said Chris Bletsoe, RN, Aspirus Care Coordination Navigator. “Under typical circumstances, programs such as ours are a way to capture excess breast milk for sick and premature babies who could benefit from the immunological properties of breast milk.”
Bletsoe noted that the current baby formula shortage (www.bit.ly/3Jzp0tp) has created a higher demand in healthy babies.
“We’re proud that this program can support those families too and encourage any mothers interested in donating their breast milk to consider doing so,” Bletsoe stated.
Aspirus said mothers who are interested in becoming donors are screened for eligibility using a variety of health history questions and lifestyles questions. Donors are given lab tests to screen for any potential infections. The mother can begin donating milk after clearing the screening process.
Mothers who are interested in becoming breast milk donors can call Aspirus Women’s Health at 715-847-0454, toll-free at 888-236-2483, or email [email protected].
Families of healthy babies that need a short-term emergency supply of donor milk due to formula unavailability can find the nearest donor milk dispensary to purchase up to 40 ounces of donor milk. For a list of dispensaries, visit www.milkbankwgl.org/formula-shortage/.