Area hospital expands options for parents with their breast milk depot

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MARSHFIELD, Wis. (WSAW) -- Marshfield Children's Hospital has used donor milk in their NICU for years but now they are the first ones in central Wisconsin to offer this option in their well baby nursery.

"In the well baby nursery those babies are generally not sick but there comes time when sometimes they need more than their moms can provide with breast milk," said Amy Blake, a Neonatologist at Marshfield Children's Hospital.

When that happens the only option used to be formula but now Marshfield Children's Hospital can give parents a choice. Parents can supplement using donor breast milk when medically necessary for conditions like, "Babies who are maybe a little early, a little small or babies who have medical reasons like jaundiced or low blood sugar," said Blake.

It would not be possible to offer this service without healthy mothers like Jessica Rhodes. She has donated more than 2,000 ounces to the milk bank through the Marshfield Children's Hospital.

For her it's personal because her son was not supposed to make it. "When he was born he was perfect and crying but also hungry and that's when they offered us donated breast milk or formula and we have never heard about it before the whole pregnancy. So my husband got to feed our son donated breast milk in the NICU before I even got to see him," said Jessica Rhodes, donor of breast milk.

Rhodes also had a daughter and is pregnant with a third child -- which means she'll continue to be able to give. "I have seen a lot of my friends struggle to produce milk and it is just a wonderful gift. I feel very blessed and I'm thankful that I have the opportunity to bless other moms as well," explained Rhodes.

Jessica can't do it alone -- to learn more about becoming a milk donor click here.