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Milk depots helping to combat baby formula shortage

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KIMT News 3 - Empty shelves continue to leave families worried about how they are going to feed their babies.

In early April, the out-of-stock rate of baby formula was 30 percent - this month, it's jumped to over 40 percent.

‚ÄčOlmsted Medical Center (OMC) partners with Mother's Milk Bank of Iowa to support mothers through their breast feeding journey and to give moms with excess milk a place to donate to families who may be in need.

The donors are carefully screened - with verbal, written, and blood screenings.

"We hear time and again from our families that they are so grateful to the remarkable milk donors who not only feed their own babies, but pump extra to donate to help other families," said Mother's Milk Bank of Iowa Director and Co-founder Jean Drulis.

OMC lactations specialist Tonya Koehler said they have seen an increase in moms not wanting to initially breast feed - but after seeing the empty formula shelves, they've been considering all their options to feed their babies.

"We're moms who are very anxious and have major concerns about this - as any mom would," said Koehler. "Obviously feeding your baby is one of the most primary things. We here have definitely seen an uptick in moms that maybe weren't on that pathway of choosing breast feeding - to feeling that urge, that push to want to breast feed."

the milk bank in Iowa has 41 depots for area mothers to drop off any excess milk they have to help other families.

"We do have a healthy supply of milk that we could help more families and hospitals fill their needs for donor milk in the absence of moms own or due to the formula shortage," said Drulis.

While most of the milk supply from the bank goes towards mother's waiting for their own supply to set in, some of it goes to moms who need the supply for their own child long-term.

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