GREEN BAY, Wis. — Northeast Wisconsin's first breast milk dispensary is now open in Green Bay.
At HSHS St. Mary's Hospital Medical Center there's a new option for mothers and their babies: pasteurized breast milk.
"Any mother wants to provide for their infant," said Amber Chibuk, the Executive Director of Women and Infant Services at HSHS St. Mary's. "Whether it's formula, whether it's maternal breast milk, now donor milk is just another option to provide with."
The dispensary can be found in the Women and Infant's Center.
The milk is available at no charge to the patients.
People in the community can also come in and purchase the milk for $20 per bottle.
There are several reasons a family might choose to go this route.
"It could be related to surrogacy, adoption, clinical indications," said Chibuk. "Maybe mom had a mastectomy or they're just not able to produce enough milk."
"It increases feeding choices," said Summer Kelly, the Executive Director of Mothers' Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes. "Families can choose to order a few bottles to serve as a bridge until mom's full milk supply comes in or until her milk supply picks up.
All breast milk at the dispensary is tested and pasteurized by Mothers' Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes.
"The testing and pasteurization ensure we are providing safe milk to our patients,' said Chibuk.
"It's the perfect food for the newborn baby," said Kelly. "It has a robust repertoire of immune factors that are not found in formula that protects babies from diseases like pneumonia, meningitis, SIDS, diabetes and a whole host of other harmful disabilities that can effect our children."
This was made possible through a $10,000 grant from an anonymous donor and to date it has purchased enough breast milk to feed 140 babies.
Parts of the grant also went towards the creation of a mural, The Tree of Life, to honor mothers who donate breast milk after the loss of a baby.
The dispensary at HSHS ST. Mary's also accepts breast milk donations.
To donate you must be pre-screened with a blood test.
Donors are screened for communicable diseases, activities that increase the risk of blood borne diseases, and the use of tobacco, alcohol and medication.
For more information on how to become a potential breast milk donor and how to purchase/order pasteurized donor breast milk, click here.
If you'd like to make a monetary donation to the dispensary, contact the HSHS St. Vincent/St. Mary’s Foundation at (920) 433-8653.