ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Supply chain problems and product recalls have created a nationwide shortage of baby formula, leaving some parents looking for alternatives.
“We have seen an increase in demand lately,” said Susan Urbanski, Program Manager at Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes. “Certainly in times like now, when there’s complications in accessing nutrition for babies, this is a really good time to know all of your options.”
That includes donated breast milk.
Although the Elk Grove Village bank is mainly focused on helping the most fragile babies in Illinois and Wisconsin hospitals, their Charity Care program helps families in need at more than a dozen dispensaries across the state.
“The bottom line is that all babies deserve access to the best nutrition possible,” she said. “And right now, that’s a struggle so we’re hopefully here to help.”
After Abbott, one of the country’s largest infant formula makers, recalled some of its products, there’s been growing concern about safety in the formula industry.
Urbanski says those concerns are not a problem in the non-profit milk banking world because of the robust safety measures in place.
“We have bacteriological screening, drug testing and blood testing for all of our donor moms. So every batch is individually tested before it’s distributed to families. And you can be absolutely certain that it’s a safe option for feeding your baby.”
The biggest challenge now is having enough supply to keep pace with demand.
Mothers’ Milk Bank hopes more awareness will help.
“We have a goal that we want people to know about milk donation as prominently as they know about blood donation,” said Urbanksi.
“Everyone knows about blood donation. People donate blood all the time. We want everyone to know about milk donation too.”
Anyone interested in receiving or donating breast milk, can find more information at MilkBankWGL.org.