CHI Women’s Health Clinic offers first breast milk donation site in Grand Island

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 8:42 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - According to a national study reported in the the United States Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, about 50% of mothers stop breastfeeding because they can’t produce enough milk. Starting Tuesday, The CHI Health Clinic Women’s Health began offering the community a breast milk donation site that can help out mothers with lactation issues.

Chelsey Kennedy, a lactation consultant for CHI Health Clinic Women’s Health, said she had intentions for putting a milk bank into existence in the area for quite some time — especially because the needs for milk donations were so high.

“Currently, we’re the only location in Grand Island where you can, what we’re calling a donation and outreach center through the Mothers’ Milk Bank, so you can come here, we can go through the whole process,” Kennedy said. “You can donate your breast milk, I’ll collect your health information and some blood for testing, and then it gets sent to Denver.”

Kennedy added that the milk especially helped out babies born premature, babies in the hospital for illnesses and for mothers who couldn’t produce enough milk. She said, when she was pregnant, she produced enough milk for one to two more babies other than her own. The CHI Grand Island clinic allows mothers who produce too much milk, like Kennedy, have the opportunity to donate their breast milk and help out others through the Mothers’ Milk Bank in Colorado.

Beth Deida, a registered nurse and women’s and obstetrician educator at CHI Health St. Francis, said she knew the benefits to feeding a child breast milk.

“As a mom whose breastfeed three children, exclusively, I know the value of breast milk and it’s importance,” Deida said. “And it’s so neat that other moms, maybe for whatever reason have a milk supply issue, that can’t get enough breast milk, or have a premature baby that they don’t have enough milk yet, that they can get milk from another mom.”

Deida, who had helped deliver a number of infants in her years, said formula couldn’t provide infants with the same nutrients breast milk could.

She continued to say her sister had to get help through milk donors when her sisters’ babies were in the hospital.

“My twin sister delivered a set of twins that were five weeks early, so premature, about two months ago, and while they were in our NICU here, they did receive some donor breast milk in the first one to two weeks of life,” Deida said.

She added that this program offered through the CHI Health Clinic Women’s Health could help out babies like her sisters’ children as well as babies across the nation.

Kennedy had dreams of offering a milk donation site for years prior could say it had turned into reality.

“One of the statistics from the Mothers’ Milk Bank — if we could give one ounce of breast milk we can feed a NICU baby for over 24 hours,” Kennedy said. “Every ounce really does count for some of those premature babies in the NICU.”

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