The Cole County Health Department will host a grand opening for a human milk depot.
The Central Missouri Mother’s Milk Depot is to be located at the health department, 3400 W. Truman Blvd.
The grand opening event will be at 8 a.m. April 18. It will be one of very few human milk depots in Missouri, Cole County Health Department Director Kristi Campbell said.
The depot is intended to provide Central Missouri mothers with a convenient location for donations of their extra expressed breast milk, which can be distributed to fragile, sick or premature babies.
The depot is a milk collection site, affiliated with the Heart of American Mothers’ Milk Bank at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City.
Once a mother has completed a necessary health screening and is approved to donate milk, she can bring her milk to the local depot and drop it off. Milk collected locally will be shipped to the St. Luke’s site for processing, pasteurization and distribution.
Premature or sick babies — who benefit most from human milk — are often the ones whose mothers need help supplying milk. Human milk is superior to formula. Studies show babies who receive donor milk, compared to those who receive formula, were less likely to suffer fatal conditions, had lower rates of infection, spent less time in the hospital after birth and were more likely to grow and thrive, according to a news release from the Cole County Health Department.
Campbell said it’s important to let the public know how carefully the milk is treated, and the milk will be processed. No one wants to give the impression that the milk is shared without it being purified first.
“We plan to receive our first donation at the event,” Campbell said. “We will show a video that really explains how the milk is received. It’s important (for people) to hear that we are going to process the milk.”