ONALASKA, WI (WXOW)—Center for Disease Control's Breastfeeding Report Card says 77-percent of infants have been breast fed in the United States.
But, there is concern that infants are not breast fed for as long as recommended.
Gundersen Health System opened up a milk depot, in Onalaska, to help more babies get the milk they need.
Emily Hansen is one of the first in the area to donate her milk to the Gundersen depot.
"I've been fortunate," Hansen said. "I've had a good supply and been able to save up and pump along with breast feeding. My deep freeze filled up pretty fast."
After working in Gundersen's newborn nursery and breastfeeding her own four children, Hansen has seen the benefits of breast milk first hand.
"It's hard for me personally to not want to give my baby the best I can for their health and growth and development so it's nice I can help," Hansen said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies have breast milk for their first year of life.
"It helps for decreasing allergies and its much healthier for newborns," Signe Susdorf, Program Manager, Women's Health, Gundersen said.
Breast milk especially helps babies who are born prematurely.
"We're seeing a lot less of what they're calling necrotizing enterocolitis," Susdorf said. "They have shorter stays and better development in our NICU's."
Since there are so many benefits in a mothers milk, Gundersen wanted to give people, like Hansen, who have extra milk, a chance to donate it to those who need it most.
Here's how it works:
A doctor fills out a form about your health and another form about your baby's health. Then they test a small sample of the donor's blood.
Once moms like Hansen are approved Gundersen collects the milk and sends it the milk bank in Indiana.
The milk bank screens the milk again, and then pasteurizes it, before hospitals and families in need can purchase it for babies.
Everything is free for the donors, even the bags to store the milk in.
Gundersen received the International Board of Certified Lactation Consultants Care Award for excellence in lactation care.
It was given in recognition of Gundersen's commitment to providing and promoting breastfeeding as part of the care for babies and new mothers.
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