Pike County mom donates her breast milk amid baby formula shortage

Published: May. 16, 2022 at 8:44 PM CDT|Updated: May. 16, 2022 at 10:12 PM CDT
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GOSHEN, Ala. (WSFA) - Some mothers have found a solution to the baby formula shortage: donated breast milk.

A mother in Goshen is among many other moms stepping up to give away their left over breast milk.

“It is definitely liquid gold,” said Bailey Winters.

Breast milk is a hot commodity for any mother with a newborn, but especially for a mom struggling to find formula on the shelf.

“If you’re not breastfeeding or if you’re not pumping or something like that, you have to have formula, and for moms who don’t have it, it’s terrifying,” Winters said.

Ongoing supply disruptions combined with a recent safety recall has left many pharmacy and supermarket shelves bare.

The problems began last year as the COVID-19 pandemic led to disruptions in labor, transportation and raw materials.

Then in February, Abbott Nutrition recalled several major brands of powdered formula and shut down its Sturgis, Michigan factory when federal officials began investigating four babies who suffered bacterial infections after consuming formula from the facility.

Abbott is one of only a handful of companies that produce the vast majority of the U.S. formula supply, so their recall wiped out a large segment of the market.

Winters, a mother of two, is currently breastfeeding her 4-month-old son Allister. When she discovered she had an oversupply of pumped breast milk, she knew she couldn’t just throw it away.

“Since he won’t take it, I might as well see if someone else can,” Winters said.

She has since donated 250 ounces of her leftover stored milk to a mom in Dothan who just adopted a newborn. Winters found the mother in need on Facebook, and now her and another mom are teaming up to help her.

“We’re both doing as much as we can, and she’s like, ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do when I run out’” Winters said.

Winters plans to breastfeed Allister for another six months and said whatever left over milk she can will go to help the mother with the adopted newborn.

“I have a special pump that I can use while he’s nursing on the opposite side to collect anything extra, and so I’m just trying to get every little bit that I can to try and help her out,” Winters said.

It’s the community’s way of coming together as desperate moms wait for the White House’s response to the formula crisis.

President Joe Biden’s administration did announce steps Monday to ease a nationwide shortage of baby formula, including reopening the largest domestic manufacturing plant and increasing imports from overseas.

The FDA does recommend against feeding your baby breast milk acquired directly from individuals or through the internet due to possible health risks. You are advised to consult your pediatrician before accepting a donation.

Mother’s Milk Bank of Alabama is a nonprofit organization in Birmingham that collects and delivers milk to hospitals across the state. They do test the breast milk for bacteria and diseases.

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