PERU - Illinois Valley Community Hospital has announced that it will be the home of the Illinois Valley’s first human milk depot.
Pasteurized donor human milk is an important nutritional therapy for many at-risk Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) 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. While IVCH supports breastfeeding whenever possible, donor milk can be used when the mother has a low milk supply, is ill or on certain medications, or in cases of adoption or surrogacy.
IVCH Lactation Specialist Melissa Lenhausen BSN, RN, IBCLC explained, “The latest evidence and research proves that human milk plays an important role in a child’s development and overall health. We are trying to build our breastfeeding network in the Illinois Valley and provide the best resources and support possible. A local drop off is such a huge asset for our community. Illinois Valley Milk Depot is the closest depot within a minimum of an hour radius.”
The milk depot at Illinois Valley Community Hospital collects human milk donations from healthy, lactating women who are approved donors through Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes. The donations are then sent to the milk bank, where they are pasteurized to eliminate any viruses and bacteria. After pasteurization, the milk is tested once again for safety and 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,” said Summer Kelly, Executive Director of Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes. “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. Milk collected from Illinois Valley Community Hospital’s milk depot will help support the complex nutritional needs of sick and premature babies in Illinois and Wisconsin.”
IVCH Nurse Midwife Brittany Lange, APN, CNM welcomes the addition of this new program. “Establishing the Illinois Valley Milk Depot at IVCH is a great opportunity for women and families in this area to join in a network of breastmilk advocacy. Breastfeeding support and education takes the work of the entire community, and we are so excited that the Illinois Valley Community Hospital can be a part of that advocacy going forward.”