Janet Hill, chief operating officer, said the health department has partnered with Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes to open the depot. Milk donated in the Quad-Cities will be distributed to hospitals throughout the region, to feed premature and sick babies, she said.
“Most hospitals that have neonatal intensive care units use donor milk, if babies don’t have access to mom’s milk, or if breast feeding is contraindicated because of medication use,” Mothers’ Milk Bank Executive Director Summer Kelly said. “These babies usually weigh less than four pounds. They’re really small babies and have underdeveloped, fragile (gastrointestinal) systems. So they’re too fragile to tolerate formula.”
“The closest milk depots we have are in Peoria, Macomb and Rockford, so we don’t have anything really close to Moline or Rock Island,” Kelly said. “There was definitely a need in the Quad-Cities area. We want to make it more convenient for mothers to donate milk.”
Kelly said once the Mothers’ Milk Bank receives a donation, it tests the milk, pasteurizes it, tests it again, then sends it out to hospitals. Around 80 percent of the donated milk is sent to 38 hospitals in Illinois and Wisconsin, while the other 20 percent is donated to outpatients.
The Rock Island County Health Department’s WIC program also offers information about overcoming breastfeeding barriers, nutrition advice, check-in appointments between doctor visits, plus other assistance, for parents of children up to age 5, Hill said.
The groups will cut a ribbon on the new Human Milk Depot in Moline on Oct. 22, she said.