NEWTON, MASS. (WHDH) – Mothers’ Milk Northeast has a freezer full of breast milk in store, ready to help mothers who need it.
Mothers’ Milk Northeast accepts donations from mothers who produce more milk than their babies need to thrive. After multiple screenings, testing and pasteurization, the milk is shipped — mostly to babies in neonatal intensive care units at more than 100 hospitals, but also to concerned parents amid a national shortage of baby food.
“If our supply allows, we (we) have been able to support parents with small amounts of donor milk coming forward and we want to be helpful and supportive in that way,” said Deborah Youngblood, executive director of Mothers’ Milk Northeast. “We’ve heard of parents who are so concerned, rightly so, and are looking for additional resources to feed their babies.”
The nationwide formula shortage stems from a winter safety recall in which a major formula maker Abbott factory is still closed, other manufacturers have said they are producing at full capacity, but it still isn’t enough to meet demand. .
As stores impose limits on formula purchases and parents are faced with empty shelves in stores, more breastfeeding moms have stepped up to fill the gaps.
Youngblood said the immediate focus should now be on solving the shortage, but going forward, the crisis has shed light on the need for additional resources for new mothers.
“One of the things we don’t talk about enough in this country is how we can better support mothers who may want to, be able and make it work for their baby to breastfeed,” she said.
She said this includes investments in lactation consultants, better workplace practices, and family support for whatever feeding method a mother chooses.
“We don’t need more stigma,” she said. “We need more options and choices for parents who work for them to care for their babies.”
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