(Fort Wayne, IN) -- In honor of World Breast Feeding Week, Indiana's health commissioner will open a breast milk depot in Muncie Thursday -- the state's third.
You may recall that we first reported on the donated breast milk movement back in November.
Donated breast milk is pasteurized at the Indiana Mothers' Milk Bank in Indianapolis, then shipped to babies who need it.
And experts say there's a reason why breast-fed babies are generally healthier than infants who drink formula.
Dr. Deborah McMahan/Allen Co. Health Commissioner: "It also passes immunity while the baby's immune system is certainly just developing. They'll get what we call passive immunity because antibodies that are present in the breast milk will help prevent certain infections and diseases in the baby. So it's incredibly important."
She says breast milk babies also have higher IQ's, and fewer hospitalizations, urgent doctor visits, and ear infections.
And babies can get those benefits, whether the milk is from its birth mother or not.
One of the biggest places to use donated breast milk is in a neo-natal intensive care unit like the one at Lutheran Hospital. And the lactation consultants we talked to say it's definitely used.
JK Wagner/Lactation Consultant: "A baby who's two pounds is having a very different outcome with breast milk. And congenital problems, some babies are allergic to formula. Surgery, some babies need extra help after surgery. So there's a lot of reasons they would need it."
The Indiana Mothers' Milk Bank is in preliminary talks with Lutheran Hospital to see what it would take to establish a milk depot there.
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