Berwyn, IL – Bienestar Pharmacy and Alivio Medical Center are proud to be the home of Berwyn’s first human milk depot.
Pasteurized donor human milk is an important nutritional therapy for many at-risk Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) babies, as it provides numerous benefits in the absence of the mother’s milk, including infection-fighting factors, active growth and development hormones, improved digestion and ideal nutrition. While Alivio Medical Center supports breastfeeding whenever possible, donor milk can be used when the mother has a low milk supply, is ill or on certain medications, or in cases of adoption or surrogacy.
“Breast milk helps prevent many different complications in premature babies such as necrotizing enterocolitis or NEC,” said Dr. Norma Westervelt, Alivio Medical Center Pediatrician. “It has lower sodium concentrate compared to formulas and lowers the risk of future diseases like hypertension. It’s easier to digest and works similarly to an oral vaccine, which is crucial for preemies because their immune systems haven’t matured in comparison to full-term babies.”
The milk depot at Bienestar collects human milk donations from healthy, lactating women who are approved donors through Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes. The donations are then sent to the milk bank, where they are pasteurized to eliminate any viruses and bacteria. After pasteurization, the milk is tested once again for safety and distributed to hospitals.
“Rigorous safety protocols ensure that pasteurized donor human milk is safe when it’s provided from a milk bank that adheres to guidelines from the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. Potential donors are blood tested and thoroughly screened for communicable diseases, activities that increase the risk of bloodborne diseases, and the use of tobacco, alcohol, and medications,” says Summer Kelly, Executive Director of Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes. “Milk collected from Hospital’s milk depot will help support the complex nutritional needs of sick and premature babies in Illinois and Wisconsin.”
“Bienestar Pharmacy in partnership with Alivio Medical Center is humbled and grateful to serve as a convenient milk drop off location in Berwyn,” said Radhika Patel, Pharmacist at Bienestar. “It’s a wonderful cause in which mothers who struggle to produce can have access to milk from mothers who have an abundance and help improve the health outcomes of many beautiful infants.”
About Alivio Medical Center
For 30 years, Alivio Medical Center has been a vital resource and advocate for thousands of families in the underserved Latino community in Chicago. Alivio is committed to providing access to quality cost-effective health care in a bilingual and bicultural environment to the Hispanic community, the uninsured, and the underinsured without the exclusion of other cultures and races.
Alivio Medical Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center and a grantee under 42 U.S.C. 254b, and a deemed Public Health Service employee under 42 U.S.C. 233(g)-(n). This health center receives HHS funding and has Federal Public Health Service (PHS) deemed status with respect to certain health or health-related claims, including medical malpractice claims, for itself and its covered individuals.