It's an exciting day in Rochester for Olmsted Medical Center.
The Mother's Milk Depot has officially opened its freezer door!
A mother's milk is the primary source of nutrition for newborns and infants.
“It's been long recognized that mother's milk really is the perfect food for babies. It's easily absorbed, the nutritional elements are all best for babies' brain development, for protection from infection,” said Dr. Kimberly McKeon, the OB/GYN Department Chair at Olmsted Medical Center.
Some women have a surplus of milk, while others are unable to produce any milk at all.
And as of Wednesday, OMC has an option for both sides of the spectrum.
"I have heard from patients for years, 'What can I do with all this milk I've stored?' Some women just have the generous gift of a good milk supply," said Dr. McKeon.
The OMC Women's Health Pavilion, in partnership with Mother's Milk Bank of Iowa, has an option for women to safely donate their surplus.
"Instead of having to ship the milk to us, because they're too far away, we're three and a half to four hours away from Rochester, they can drop off their milk when they're approved by the milk bank here," said Jean Drulis, the Director and Co-Founder of the Mother's Milk Bank of Iowa.
Rochester residents with a surplus of milk, like Danielle Johnson, couldn't be more excited.
"So far I think I've donated about 500 ounces, but right now, I have about 1600 ounces saved," said Johnson, as she showed us her frozen supply.
Johnson has a 9 month old baby girl, named Charlie, who will get some of that pumped milk, but the rest, she'd like to donate.
"I'm hoping to donate a lot more to women because I'm still pumping, I'm still doing all the necessary work," said Johnson.
Before the Mother's Milk Bank, Johnson said she used informal donation through various Facebook groups, a common practice.
"Facebook groups are more of just trusting people,” said Johnson.
Next on her to-do list: Get screened to donate to OMC, because all women donating must be approved.
"It'll be stored in a freezer and then the Iowa Milk Bank will pick it up, pasteurize it, freeze it, repackage it, and distribute it out to hospitals where it's needed," said Dr. McKeon.
And, what's more, donating is easy.
"They will just pour their milk into these, close them, lock them, and then label it,” demonstrated Drulis, of what women who are approved do to donate.
"Every mom is here to support every other mom, and we can help,” said Johnson.
Dr. McKeon said there are already some women in Rochester who have applied to be screened, in order to donate.
Johnson said she is going to apply as soon as possible!
And as far as receiving milk goes, as of now, any mother who is breastfeeding in the OMC birth center, will receive the milk donations...free of cost.
For anyone who wishes to donate breast milk, you can visit the Mother's Milk Bank of Iowa's website to learn how to go through the screening process at the following link: http://www.uichildrens.org/milk-donor-information/