Local mothers feeding their babies the natural way, but who aren’t producing enough of their own milk, have a new resource. Illinois Valley Community Hospital took its first donation of human milk Tuesday.

Mothers like Chelsea Dombrowski, who produce more than they need, can donate the extra for moms who don’t. The LaSalle woman gave 103 ounces that her three-month old, Leo, doesn’t need.

Dombrowski says if not for the milk depot at IVCH, she herself would be looking for mothers who need more. The program that IVCH is part of screens mothers and their milk for diseases, pasteurizes the milk, and then refrigerates or freezes it for distribution in a hospital network.

Nicole Robbins with the Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes says before opening the drop-off at IVCH, the closest ones were an hour’s drive away.

Besides serving moms who don’t lactate enough, the milk bank also serves special needs children who can’t tolerate formula.

To join the program, moms who want to give must go through a screening process that determines how much they can donate and detects diseases that could be passed on in human milk. Donors are not charged a fee. Moms who don’t produce enough milk should talk to their doctors about this and other options, since a prescription is required to continue getting milk after ten bottles and there is a charge for the recipient.

The refrigerator at IVCH designated for the human milk depot

Chelsea Dombrowski of LaSalle donated the first 103 ounces of milk to the IVCH milk depot. She says she produces more than twice what three-month old Leo needs.

A look inside the milk depot refrigerator at the first donation.

Father Tyler Ptak, son Leo Ptak, and mother Chelsea Dombrowski

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