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Mother’s Milk Bank of Alabama (MMBAL) is asking breastfeeding mothers to donate milk.

The United States is currently experiencing an extreme shortage of baby formula. According to Lauren Walsh of 1819 News, 21% of powdered baby formula was out of stock by early May. Parents are driving long distances to find formula needed for their infants, and many have resorted to paying much more for formula than they previously have.

MMBAL’s mission is to collect, pasteurize and distribute donated human milk to infants who need it. The organization also educates community members about the importance of breastmilk for infants.

“The infant formula shortage and the global pandemic have complicated already stressful decisions growing families must consider,” said Kristina Habchi, executive director of MMBAL. “MMBAL encourages obstetrical hospitals and neonatal physicians to provide pasteurized donor human milk (PDHM) when mothers’ own milk is not available. The availability of donor breast milk is vitally important so that immunologically compromised infants and micro premature infants can have access to the safe nutrition they need to grow.”

After being screened, mothers with excess pumped and frozen milk can donate to their local milk bank. To receive screening and become a donor, you can email donors@mmbal.org or look for your local milk bank online.

The MMBAL said mothers should not share milk informally. Informal milk sharing does not guarantee the same level of protection against adverse consequences.

The MMBAL prioritizes neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) before sending milk elsewhere. NICUs care for ill or premature newborn infants.

The MMBAL donates surplus milk to the community based on need.

“We stand with all families struggling during this difficult time and will continue to support the donation, collection, pasteurization, and distribution of human breastmilk for medically fragile infants and to provide education and limited support, as practical, for mothers to choose breastfeeding for their infant’s nutrition when possible,” Habchi said.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email will.blakely@1819news.com

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