Milk banks seeing an increased need of donors amid baby formula shortage

NOW: Milk banks seeing an increased need of donors amid baby formula shortage

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- Many mothers across the nation are scrambling to find food for their little ones amid the baby formula shortage. The calls for help are causing many to turn to human milk banks who are working tirelessly to keep up with the increased demand.

The Milk Bank is seeing an increased need of almost ninety percent just in the past month.

“I can relate in general to feeding anxiety. I think this is something that all moms at least in imagination can access. I can’t really think of anything more stressful than worrying about having enough good food for your baby," said Laura Callahan, The Milk Bank South Bend donor.

Callahan is a South Bend mother who gave birth six months ago. She’s been donating her excess supply of breast milk through non-profit The Milk Bank since February.

She hopes to make a difference after experiencing her own struggles with breastfeeding at first.

“Every mom, every breastfeeding dyad is a little different. I think for me it’s pretty easy to save an extra 15 oz. A week and you know that doesn’t feel like a lot every day but over you know a couple of weeks that starts to just feel and seem like a lot," said Callahan.

As more new parents find empty shelves amid the formula shortage it’s mothers like Callahan who are helping to fill the void for those in need.

Jenna Strait, the Advancement Director for The Milk Bank says interested donors must complete an online pre-screen which takes about a week.

“We do ask you to complete a blood test at our expense and then we reach out to your provider on your behalf to get their consent for your donation," said Strait.

From there you can drop off your donation at Memorial Hospital or Mahogany Maternity in South Bend.

You can also opt into shipping your donation before its taken to a lab for defrosting.

“We analyze the milk to know the chloric value, protein, and lactose amount in each donor's milk and then we actually blend the milk together from 3-5 donors to ensure we hit the right calorie level for the age of the baby that the milk is going to," said Strait.

There are lab fees the non-profit does help families cover through the help of donations.

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