In an interesting industry that seems to be growing, the use of mothers milk banks is on the rise.
According to USA Today, Mothers Milk Banks in San Jose has been backed up with orders for breast milk. Executive director Pauline Sakamoto stated, “We’re just struggling to keep up. Our freezers are empty, but the demand is skyrocketing. It’s just exponentially growing, so it’s imperative for us to find more milk.” The numbers tell the same story as the Human Milk Banking Association of North America reported that 2.18 million ounces of breast milk were distributed in 2011, which is a huge increase compared to the 1.8 million ounces in 2010.
According to Sakamoto, numbers are up because more hospitals are using donor milk for pre-term infants. Moreover, she added that donor milk goes to mothers with delayed lactation. As a higher demand for milk banks is becoming more apparent, more milk banks have sprung about. Currently, there are 12 milk banks affiliated with HMBANA. The HMBANA has presence in the cities of Denver, Indianapolis, Boston, Iowa City, Kalamazoo, Mich., Raleigh, N.C., and Fort Worth and Austin while additional banks are planned for Orlando, Portland, Ore., and Missoula, Mont.
In order to receive donated milk from the milk bank, a doctor’s prescription is required. Due to medical scrutiny, the donated milk has a price of $3 to $5 per ounce. Donor milk is screened for bacteria and viruses and then pasteurized. It is then sent overnight by mail, arriving frozen to the pediatric unit.
While official breast milk banks are on the rise, unofficial breast milk sharing also seems to be a growing solution to mothers who are unable to breast feed. Founder of Human Milk 4 Human Babies, 34-year-old Emma Kwasnica self describes herself as a breastfeeding activist from Vancouver. She started a network of milk-sharing moms connecting exclusively through Facebook and began running it in November 2010 under the name Eats on Feets. Kwasnica states, “You can find a mom within a few miles of home. It’s very different than the anonymity of sharing milk online and shipping it out. … They’re meeting at play groups and they’re handing over a cooler of frozen breast milk.”
photo by Uqbar is back
Use of Mothers Milk Banks and Breast Milk Sharing on the Rise