A mother's milk is the primary source of nutrition for newborns and infants, and studies show there are benefits to feeding babies with breast milk over formula.
However, not all women are able to produce their own milk, which causes them to turn to alternative methods to get human milk for their babies.
Here in Rochester, starting Wednesday, the Olmsted Medical Center, in an agreement with the Mother's Milk Bank of Iowa, will become a Mother's Milk Depot.
This means it will be a place where women can donate breast milk to those unable to do it themselves, and where women in need of breast milk for their babies can ensure it's a safe source of nutrition.
"Milk that was given in the morning is different than milk that's given at night. So, human breast milk is fascinating!" explained Brittany Baker, Co-Founder of MedCity Doulas.
"There's a lot of benefits to using it,” she added.
Back in February, we learned those benefits.
"They get all these wonderful antibodies, the perfect balance of protein, nutrients, lots of protection from the mother, directly, which and those are the things that can't be replicated through formula,” said Kimberly Kretschner, a Lactacian Consultant at United Hospital in St. Paul.
"I hope it brings a sense of empowerment to women in the Olmsted Community,” said Baker.
Olmsted Medical Center will accept milk donations from area mothers who have completed a screening process through the Mother's Milk Bank of Iowa.
Once accepted, the milk will be pasteurized.
"They pasteurize the milk in a shaking water bath. And that pasteurization process normally takes about 30 minutes and what it does, is it kills anything that could pass through breast milk, but it keeps the majority of the immunities in tact,” said Mary Kelley, the Executive Director for the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA).
Not only will the milk benefit nutritional needs of babies, but it will shed light on certain taboos.
"There is some shame that is tied to it, if you're not able to breast feed. But at the same time, it's scary to go out and try to seek breast milk other than your own,” said Baker.
With the coming of Destination Medical Center, timing couldn't be more perfect.
"Having one of the best NICU's in the area, it would make sense that donor milk is right available in the community," said Baker.
Once all is said and done, the milk that's donated and pasteurized will be distributed throughout Minnesota and Iowa.