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Breast milk banks see increase in donations amidst formula shortage

Bottled breastmilk
Bottled breastmilk
Published: May. 15, 2022 at 10:40 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Emily Jolly realized early on she had an oversupply when it came to breastfeeding her baby girl Madison. She turned to the internet and connected with a mom to donate the extra breast milk.

“Right now with this formula shortage, I am proud of the milk I am making for my daughter and I feel very grateful to be able to share my milk with other moms because we really are a community,” said Emily Jolly.

At Amber Sky Salon in Shrewsbury, the freezer is filled with bags of frozen breast milk. The location is a depot for The Milk Barn, a non-profit based in Indiana that collects, screens, pasteurizes and distributes donated breast across the Midwest. In 2021, they donated more than 4,000 gallons of breast milk including to the NICU at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital.

“Any moms that are able to pump extra and donate that milk, they all hold a very special place in my heart because its not an easy task,” said Jamie Lueders, who operates the milk depot.

On May 24, Cardinal Glennon will host a milk drive. You can donate milk and get your blood drawn. You can register online at www.themilkbank.org. You can also learn more about donating or receiving breastmilk.

For Emily Jolly, the bare formula shelves are encouraging her to continue breastfeeding her 5-month-old.

“I first had a breastfeeding goal of six months, now I’m going to keep going, it’s definitely motivating me to keep going and keep breastfeeding,” she said.

As parents search high and low for formula to feed their babies, Jolly says she’s thankful to help in a small way.

The White House is taking steps to address the bare shelves across the country, including cutting red tape to get more formula in the hands of anxious parents. The FDA is expected to announce new steps in regard to importing certain infant formula from abroad. Here are the steps the FDA has taken so far to address the ongoing shortage: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-takes-important-steps-improve-supply-infant-and-specialty-formula-products