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‘Milk depot’ receives donation

Above: Katie Wendt recently donated 750 ounces of breastmilk to the South Central Minnesota Breastmilk Depot, which is located in the Martin County Human Services building.

FAIRMONT– The South Central Minnesota Breastmilk Depot recently received its first donation. The depot, located in Martin County’s Human Services building, is the only depot of its kind in this area of the state.

The depot collects frozen breastmilk from approved donors, which is then sent to the Minnesota Milk Bank for Babies in Golden Valley. There it’s pasteurized and packaged for use.

The local depot first opened in 2019. Patti Kasper, a registered nurse and an international board certified lactation consultant with Human Services of Faribault and Martin Counties said, “We had people call and ask about donating, but never received any.”

That is until Wendt donated 750 ounces of breastmilk. Wendt lives in Springfield, Minnesota and is a registered nurse at the Sleepy Eye hospital.

Wendt’s baby developed a sensitivity to cow’s milk protein so she cut out dairy products from her diet to continue breastfeeding. However, she was left her with quite a bit of frozen breastmilk from when she was consuming dairy.

“I didn’t want the milk that I couldn’t use to go to waste. And being a nurse that takes care of new moms and babies, if I was in a spot where I couldn’t have breast milk for my baby I would be grateful for something like this,” Wendt said.

She said her lactation consultant from where she delivered her baby referred her to the milk bank. She initially went online to the website and sent an email for more information.

“One of the people got in touch with me and we did a phone interview to see if I would be a candidate. Then I filled out a paper application,” Wendt said.

She was sent a blood testing kit that she took to a lab. After the results were in she was notified that she was good to go.

While Wendt said they have pilots that can come pick up the milk donation through Angel Flight, she opted to drive to the South Central Minnesota Breastmilk Depot.

“The whole process took about a month. The communication between me and Virginia, the lady at the milk bank I was talking with, was great. She was quick to get back to me. The process was simple,” Wendt said.

Wendt’s milk and any others that’s donated to the milk depot is stored in a designated freezer and the milk bank will come down and get.

“They’re able to utilize it in hospitals. A lot of it goes to the neonatal intensive care units, and for mom’s who are breastfeeding but their milk hasn’t come in it and their baby needs to be supplemented but they don’t want to introduce formula,” Kasper explained.

Kasper said several depots are scattered throughout the state so that moms can get to one closet to them. She said the closet one to this area might be St. Cloud. She said there are several in the Twin Cities area.

Kasper said she knows that there is a lot of milk sharing going on between mothers, but she said going through the depot and bank is the safest route.

“I don’t recommend that unless you know what kind of medication they take and whether they’ve done drugs or are drinking,” she said.

Kasper said she’ll hear of people who say they have a freezer full of milk.

“That’s great. I would say, when you get to that point and you’re ready, let us know so we can help you donate it.”

She pointed out that there are many benefits of breastmilk.

“All the living cells in breastmilk is so healthy for a babies total growth and development,” Kasper said.

Kasper said the depot is staffed with international board certified lactation consultants.

“We have a lot of help for breastfeeding moms here at Human Services ,” Kasper said.

She shared that public health also puts on BabyCafe every Wednesday morning from 9 to 11 a.m. at Fairmont Elementary School. There consultants can help answer questions.

More information about the Minnesota milk bank can be found at www.mnmilkbank.org or by calling 763-546-8051.

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