Published on October 02, 2019

Repository for donor breast milk coming to Essentia Health

Molly Williams was done breastfeeding her 16-month-old son, Logan, but still had what she described as a “plentiful” supply of breast milk stocked up.

Plentiful, indeed.

Rather than waste it, Williams plans to donate 600 ounces to the Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Milk Depot, which opens Oct. 8. The depot will become the first of its kind in the area to accept donor breast milk and see that it arrives safely at the Minnesota Milk Bank, where it will be pasteurized and readied for distribution to the babies in Minnesota most in need. Essentia’s Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Birthplace both provide donor breast milk to their patients.

“I think it’s fabulous for many moms who work hard pumping and have a freezer full of breast milk,” Williams said. “Now they can put it to good use instead of wasting it.”

Williams has worked as a registered nurse in Essentia’s Birthplace for six years.

“I’ve seen the benefits breast milk is able to provide to those babies,” she said.

Research indicates breast milk, compared to formula, is advantageous in babies’ development. It can help to fight infections, is easier to digest and is anti-inflammatory, meaning it’s less likely to result in allergies. However, not all mothers are able to produce a sufficient supply on their own.

Donors must reside in a nonsmoking household and plan to donate at least 100 ounces. Their milk should not have been stored longer than 12 months and it should be kept in clean, food-grade containers. All donors will be asked to complete a written application.

The Minnesota Milk Bank will arrange and cover the cost of each donor’s blood test. It also will pasteurize and test the milk to ensure purity and nutritional content.

To learn more or schedule a drop-off at Essentia, call (218) 786-4477. For additional information, contact the Minnesota Milk Bank at (763) 546-8051 or

Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Milk Depot grand opening details:

WHEN: 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019

WHERE: On the fifth floor of Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center, between the Birthplace and NICU. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to this email and/or meet in the first-floor lobby (407 East Third Street), next to the piano, where a member of the Essentia communications team will provide an escort in the hospital.

PARKING: Metered spots are available nearby, or you can park for free in Essentia’s Red Ramp on East Fourth Street between Third and Fourth Avenues East

CONTACT: Louie St. George III, Essentia Health Media Relations Specialist, (218) 428-1781

To coordinate interviews, photos, and/or video, contact the media relations team.

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