• World Breastfeeding Week Aims to Improve Infant Health

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    August 01, 2019

    WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. – World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from August 1 - 7 to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.


    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breastfeeding promotes better health for mothers and children alike. Increasing breastfeeding to near-universal levels could save more than 800,000 lives every year, the majority being children under 6 months.


    Aspirus is a milk depot center for The Mother’s Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes, a certified breast milk bank located near Chicago. Breast milk may be donated in several communities, including two locations in Wisconsin Rapids. 


    “Women who are breastfeeding may have an overabundance of milk and, for a variety of reasons, might not use all of their milk,” said Chris Hanke, RN, Aspirus Women’s Health Nurse Navigator. “Programs such as ours are a way to capture excess breast milk for sick and premature babies who could benefit from the immunological properties of breast milk.”


    The WHO says breastfeeding decreases the risk of mothers developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2-diabetes, and heart disease. It is estimated that increased breastfeeding could avert 20,000 maternal deaths each year due to breast cancer.


    Potential donors at Aspirus are screened for eligibility using a variety of health history questions and lifestyle questions. Donors are given lab tests to screen for any potential infections. The mother may begin donating milk once she clears the screening process. 


    Mothers who are interested in becoming breast milk donors may contact Aspirus Women’s Health by calling 715-847-0454 (toll-free at 888-236-2483) or by emailing milkdonation@aspirus.org



    Aspirus is a non-profit, community-directed health system based in Wausau, Wisconsin. Its 7,700 employees are focused on improving the health and well-being of people throughout Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. Aspirus serves communities through four hospitals in Michigan and four hospitals in Wisconsin, 50 clinics, home health and hospice care, pharmacies, critical care and air-medical transport, medical goods, nursing homes and a broad network of physicians. Aspirus was recognized in 2018 and 2019 by IBM Watson Health as a Top 15 Health System in its annual study identifying the top-performing health systems in the country. For more information, visit aspirus.org