FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Olivia German, Community Relations Coordinator
OSF HealthCare Saint Elizabeth Medical Center – (815) 431-5498
(Ottawa, IL | August 7, 2020) – OSF HealthCare Saint Elizabeth Medical Center is proud to be the home of Ottawa’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 OSF Saint Elizabeth Medical Center 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.
“Our Family Birth Center is excited about our milk depot partnership with Mother’s Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes,” said Annabel Tomas, BSN, RNC-OB, director of the OSF Saint Elizabeth Medical Center family birth center. “We are happy to provide this valuable service to lactating mothers in our community who have extra milk and want to help other babies in need. Our Mission is to serve with the greatest care and love - to serve as a milk depot is so important to us because it will help so many premature and medically fragile infants in need.”
The milk depot at OSF Saint Elizabeth Medical Center 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. 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,” says Summer Kelly, Executive Director of Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes. “Milk collected from OSF HealthCare Saint Elizabeth Medical Center’s milk depot will help support the complex nutritional needs of sick and premature babies in Illinois and Wisconsin.”
To learn more about how you can donate, visit www.milkbankwgl.org/donate-milk/ and fill out the Donor Interest Form. You will be contacted to complete a 10-15 minute phone screening. If you are a good candidate, you will receive a full donor application.
About the Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes:
Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes collects, pasteurizes, and dispenses donor human milk to premature babies and pediatric patients. As a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit member of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, they serve over 50 hospitals and hundreds of families throughout Wisconsin and Illinois. Their mission is to supply human milk to premature and critically ill babies, support moms who donate milk after loss, and distribute reduced cost or free donor milk to chronically ill middle and low income children.