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Greater Ozarks Regional Mother's Milk Depot reopens its doors after closing in early 2022

Sign for the JVIC Roy Blunt Center for Family Health and Wellness where the Greater Ozarks Regional Mother's Milk Depot is located (photo taken October 3, 2023)
Michele Skalicky
Sign for the JVIC Roy Blunt Center for Family Health and Wellness where the Greater Ozarks Regional Mother's Milk Depot is located (photo taken October 3, 2023)

The Milk Depot is located at 1720 W. Grand in Springfield.

The Greater Ozarks Regional Mother’s Milk Depot is once again open in Springfield.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department, the Greater Ozarks Regional Breastfeeding Coalition and the nonprofit organization The Milk Bank announced the reopening Tuesday of the facility at 1720 W. Grand after it closed in January of last year. The closure happened after the milk bank the Milk Depot had partnered with at St. Luke’s in Kansas City closed due to funding issues, said Tawana Frazier, nutritionist and lactation consultant with Springfield-Greene County WIC.

Since then, local moms who wanted to donate breast milk had to ship it to The Milk Bank’s lab in Indianapolis to be processed, pasteurized and distributed. Even though there was no cost to the donor, it took some effort. Frazier said, now, they’ll be able to drop at off at the Milk Depot on W. Grand.

"I think it should help our numbers increase just because that barrier is no longer there," she said. "There's still no cost to the donors regardless of how they do that — if we ship it or if they ship it themselves. It's just going to be easier. They don't have to take, you know, the boxes to to a location to be shipped. They don't have to take their kids in and out of their vehicle. We will meet them at the car."

Frazier said moms can purchase milk from The Milk Bank in Indianapolis. The donated breast milk is largely used by hospitals, including CoxHealth and Mercy Springfield, for premature babies.

"Some of the premature babies' moms are not able to hold, so they're not able to latch onto the breast, so mom has to pump, and so that can affect them to have a lower supply," she said, "and also the stress of having a sick baby can make a mom's milk supply be a little bit lower."

Research shows that donor milk improves the outcome of premature babies, she said, and reduces the risk of necrotizing entercolitis (NEC). That's a serious gastrointestinal problem that inflames intestinal tissue, causing it to die, according to The Cleveland Clinic, which said feeding an infant breast milk may reduce their risk.

To find out more or to sign up to donate, go to themilkbank.org.