OSF brings much needed breastmilk dispensary for newborns in Central Illinois

This is really for short-term supplementation for emergency use
The dispensary is for families who need to supplement their breastmilk supply on an emergency basis.
Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 7:24 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PEORIA (25 News Now) - There’s now a new option for families of newborns to find much-needed breast milk.

OSF Healthcare St. Francis just opened up the first breastmilk dispensary in the area.

This option allows them to buy up to 10 bottles in case of emergencies when their personal supply gets too low.

Their stories are similar...

“As time went on when were having a hard time coming across breastmilk for him so we switched him to formula through his tube but he was just throwing it up, he was not gaining any weight,” explain Megan Roberts, mother of 10, Storm Morgan.

Sarah Mann, chimes in, “when he was first born, my milk took a while to come in, so we were supplementing with formula and even then, he had lost too much weight.”

Mann and Roberts both gave birth to their now 10-month-old sons during the height of the baby formula shortage and their milk supply did not come in until a week after the boys arrived.

Mann says, “even before I gave birth, I wasn’t sure I could breastfeed, so we went out and bought formula. If I would have known, we could buy breastmilk we would have done that instead.”

Robert’s son Storm had a difficult start to his life, experiencing heart failure and spending over 70 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

With her milk supply dropping, she reached out via Facebook for assistance, “the post had 2,000 shares and we were able to obtain thousands of ounces for him.”

Now for new parents in her position, OSF Saint Francis Healthcare’s Breastfeeding Resource Center is opening up a milk dispensary in a partnership with the Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes.

“What that can offer the community is a place to come purchase donated, safe, pasteurized breast milk to help supplement their milk supply. Dispensaries are meant for a short-term emergency use,” explain Amber Barnes, RNC, IBCLC, the Clinical Manager of Milk Bank WGL.

Families can come to the Breastfeeding Resource Center where the milk is available for $20 for 4 ounces.

Someone can get up to 10 bottles before they’d need documentation from a healthcare provider to continue purchasing.

Donor Milk is not meant to be a long-term use solution, unless the family is planning for that. This is really for short-term supplementation for emergency use.

If the patient is looking for something long-term, we would direct them to the Milk Bank. They can work together to try to bill insurance and to ship it directly to them.

According to OSF Saint Francis Public Relations Communications Coordinator, Jaymee Barra, the milk bank and OSF are both non-profit companies, neither of are able to make a profit off of the milk, so the charges are as low as they can be. Each bottle is $18 from the Milk Bank. The remaining $2 covers the shipping and handling, dry ice, etc.

There’s also a scale to support them on their journey.

Roberts says this dispensary can mean a healthy start to life for babies like Storm.

“He was in the 4th percentile when he was on formula and now, he’s in the 36th percentile for weight.”

There’s more information about accessing or donating human milk via Milk Bank WGL by visiting its website at milkbankwgl.org