More Vermont moms donate breast milk amid shortage
ESSEX JCT., Vt. (WCAX) - The nationwide formula shortage has parents scrambling to find food for their babies. That has more mothers donating their breast milk to help.
“We’re here. We’re ready to serve any family that needs help with feeding their baby,” said Rachel Foxx, with the Vermont Donor Milk Center.
Vermont’s only donor milk center in the state has a stocked fridge. While not all babies can switch from formula to breastmilk, Foxx says it can work for families, perhaps just a few bottles to fill formula gaps.
“We’re here to help all babies, no matter what their mode of feeding is,” said Foxx.
Foxx says they haven’t had a huge increase in the number of families getting milk, but more moms are donating their precious ounces.
“I think we’re going to see a lot more interest in people who want to buy donor milk because they can’t find formula,” said Foxx.
One barrier is cost. Babies eat somewhere around 25 ounces a day. Breast milk from a bank is about $5 an ounce.
That’s why the donor center focuses on supplementing feedings and offers a sliding pay scale. Donations and grants help them do that.
“We’re all here as volunteers. And so the only money that we keep is the rent and the utilities, and the rest goes right to folks buying milk,” said Foxx.
As the formula crisis continues, social media is full of people with homemade recipes and suggestions on how to feed babies.
As a registered nurse and lactation consultant, Foxx says it’s important to get a medical opinion.
“We have been in touch with the pediatrician offices in the area. None of the pediatricians are recommending you make your own formula. It tends to not have all the nutritional value that the baby needs and some babies can actually get quite sick on homemade formula,” she said.
Foxx says there is a bill in the Vermont House that would require insurance companies to cover the cost of donor milk in certain situations, like when the mother doesn’t make enough.
The Milk Bank is running a donation campaign on their Facebook page here:
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