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Valley moms band together, donating breast milk to parents in need

Newborn Baby Drinking Formula Bottle
Posted at 7:01 PM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 22:01:41-04

PHOENIX — Thursday night the head of the FDA said the supply of baby formula is expected to ramp up soon. The factory that's been shut down for months in Michigan, could be up and running again in a week or two.

But until then one group of moms is trying to help feed babies across Arizona.

Alicia Atkins' group, which began years ago with the mission of normalizing breastfeeding in public, is now gathering breastmilk for parents in need.

“Moms are reaching out to other moms and meeting them and donating their entire supply,” said Atkins.

Some are even dropping off breast milk at Atkins' home for her to give to others.

Moms that are lucky enough to produce enough milk, said they feel honored to help.

“To be able to feed your own child and also help other babies is more of an incredible feeling than I know how to describe,” said Amanda Branum.

Branum, so far, has donated 300 oz. and said she’s now preparing another donation.

“I am just under 1,000 oz.,” said Ceira Sierra.

A mom of three, Sierra said she can produce large amounts of milk and is even considering wet nursing.

"I stopped pumping when she was about eight months, but because of the shortage, we are going to start pumping and donating again,” Sierra said.

These moms are making a difference, helping babies get essential nutrients.

Meanwhile, pediatricians are warning against parents making their own formula.

“Formula is very precisely formulated to be exactly what the infant needs,” said Dr. Gary Kirkilas with Phoenix Children’s. “So diluting it may result in less protein, less salt and that can have major effects of an infant's mind and body."

Moms wanting to donate or parents in need can join the group online and find a mom that matches what their baby needs.

“You can say I don't want any medication,” said Atkins.

She said some parents want donors who are dairy-free or even caffeine-free.

"You can let them know what you don't want and we will find you someone as close to that as possible or exactly that,” said Atkins.

The FDA does have information and recommendations when considering using a breast milk donor.