After Waterloo woman's baby dies, she donates extra breast milk - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

After Waterloo woman's baby dies, she donates extra breast milk

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

A Waterloo woman lost her baby, but is donating a much-needed gift to help other babies.

Iowa is experiencing a shortage in breast milk, and donations are desperately needed.

When LeeAnn McLaury learned about the shortage, she knew she needed to donate.

LeeAnn's baby was born more than 20 weeks premature. After five surgeries and a trip to Iowa City Hospitals, little Lincoln McLaury lost his battle with a rare bowel disease.

"His stomach was swollen," said McLaury. "He had a color that didn't look right."

But McLaury wasn't going to let his journey end.

A trauma nurse at the hospital talked to her about donating her breast milk.

"I think it's something nobody thinks about because, until she told me, I was like, 'What are you talking about?'" said McLaury.

She learned about the shortage of breast milk for sick babies nationwide, especially in Iowa.

Nearly 90 percent of donated milk in Iowa goes to babies in the NICU, so McLaury decided to give a priceless gift.

"It's like, everyone has been giving to us through condolences, so how can I give?" she said.

The decision to donate was eventually a no-brainer, but she says it was hard at first -- after all, the milk was for Lincoln.

But this process is helping her heal.

"This is how he gets to keep helping people -- all these babies that need it are going to get it now," said McLaury.

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