AUSTIN (KXAN) — Milk banks across the nation are desperate for donors to step up and give milk.
“These are usually filled with raw unpasteurized milk donated by moms who have passed the screening process,” said Kim Updegrove, pointing at freezers. She’s the executive director of Mother’s Milk Bank of Austin.
“Today, they are less than full,” she said.
The milk donated to the Mother’s Milk Bank goes to families in need of breast milk, as well as babies in the NICU, but there is not enough right now.
There has been a recent decline in donors and volume of donations.
“What we experienced in 2021 across the year was a 30% decline in the number of milk donors,” said Updegrove.
At two months old, Samuel Peyton is a happy, healthy baby.
“He is two months, but wearing 12-month-old clothes,” said Davina Peyton, his mom.
After birth, Samuel started losing weight though. Without access to a steady supply of breast milk and a nationwide recall impacting several popular brands of formula, his parents turned to Mother’s Milk Bank for help.
“Samuel isn’t sick, but we were really in a tough situation where we didn’t have any resources,” Davina said. “Having this opportunity really helped us get through a really tough time.”
As donations are lacking, Mother’s Milk Bank is putting out a call to anyone that can help.
“We need every health lactating mother to consider becoming a milk donor,” Updegrove said.
It’s an easy process for donors — which includes screening and testing the milk. If all goes well, the donation will go to saving a baby’s life.
About one in eight babies are born early and rely on breast milk to survive. A doctor KXAN spoke with said if they don’t have access to human milk, there can be issues.
“So, they are at higher risk for infections, they are at higher risk of severe infections of the intestines that can be life-threatening, and the human milk is just one of the tools in the toolbox that helps keep them healthy,” said Danielle Arnold with Baylor Scott and White.
Milk Bank of Austin helps distribute milk to 186 hospitals in 26 states plus Texas.