MN’s First Breast Milk Bank to Open in Golden Valley
A new breast milk bank is opening in Golden Valley. It’s the first of its kind in the state and just the 27th in the country. The founder of Minnesota Milk Bank for Babies says there is a great need in the state for breast milk.
“We had ordered milk from a milk bank and they had run out and so then our babies were without,” says Evelyn Lindholm, president of Minnesota Milk Bank for Babies. “That’s where the red flag came up that we have to make sure our babies have milk here in Minnesota.”
Breast milk is considered a vital source of nutrition for babies. Babies who are born premature are typically able to leave the hospital more quickly if fed breast milk instead of formula.
“It gets babies home to their families a lot sooner,” says Jill Lindquist, vice president of Minnesota Milk Bank for Babies. “Those same babies have fewer complications and it pretty much is liquid gold like they say. We’d like that to be the standard for all babies because every baby deserves the best start.”
Nearly 30 Hospitals Request Breast Milk
While their freezers are empty now, the organization already has donations they are waiting to pasteurize and made available to moms in need. And the need for breast milk has continued to grow.
“Before we began Minnesota Milk Bank for Babies, there were four hospitals in Minnesota using donor milk,” said Lindquist. “Now we have close to 30 hospitals in need of breast milk. So the need is growing because they are seeing such a benefit from using donor milk. The families benefit, the insurance companies benefit, and the babies benefit.”
This practice was once considered controversial, but experts say there’s nothing to be concerned about.
“There’s a very sophisticated and extensive screening process that the moms go through,” says Lindquist. “Actually, human milk donation is more closely monitored than, and has more strict guidelines than, blood donation.”
The babies are the organization’s biggest focus, but organizers say they wouldn’t be able to provide milk without moms willing to donate.
The Golden Valley milk bank still needs $150,000 to become fully operational. Once it has that money, it will be able to operate independently from the sale of the milk itself.
How You Can Help
Minnesota Milk Bank for Babies hopes to start distributing milk by the first quarter of 2019. If you would like to donate to the bank you can do so through its GoFundMe account. If you would like to learn more about the organization you can visit its website.