Breast milk shortage: Donations needed - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Breast milk shortage: Donations needed

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Iowa's only breast milk bank is looking for more new mothers to donate breast milk.

Mother's Milk Bank of Iowa, located in Coralville, says the demand for breast milk is going up.

Director and co-founder Jean Drulis says 88 percent of the bank's milk last year went to babies in the hospital, most of which were in the NICU.

Covenant Medical Center is one hospital that buys milk from Mother's Milk Bank of Iowa. Covenant's Lactation Consultant Rhonda Thompson, RN says the breast milk can be expensive, $16 for 3 ounces, but the benefits of breast milk are especially important for preemies.

However, other circumstances arise where the bank is handy as well. Sometimes mothers with twins supplement with milk from the bank, and adoptive parents will sometimes find it worth it to front the cost.

Also some mothers run into problems eliminating breastfeeding as an option.

Whatever the reason, new parents need a prescription to get the “liquid gold.”

The University of Iowa Children's Hospital says breast milk is a valuable commodity because the milk contains “immune system boosters and infection-fighting factors.”

Thompson doesn't recommend buying or selling breast milk online. She says the benefit of the milk bank is the screening process.

Also Mother's Milk Bank of Iowa pasteurizes (but does not homogenize) the milk that passes through the facility's doors.

While some breast milk banks will pay for a mother's milk, Mother's Milk Bank of Iowa is a nonprofit and only takes donations.

Covenant Medical Center, Allen Hospital, Dubuque's Mercy Hospital and Cedar Rapid's Saint Luke's Hospital all serve as milk depots where milk donations can be dropped off.

Thompson says some mothers with older babies may be surprised to find that the milk in their deep freeze may still be good.

For more information about donating, click here: http://www.uichildrens.org/milk-donor-information/

For more information about ordering, click here: http://www.uichildrens.org/how-to-order-donor-human-milk/

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