There are ten breast milk banks across the United States. However,
there are many more stations set up where mothers can donate their
extra milk for other women's babies.
Experts say breast milk is the best food for babies. In fact, the World
Health Organization says it is the only food babies should get during
the first six months of life, in most cases.
Breast milk is especially important for babies born too early.
Sometimes these premature babies must stay in the hospital for many
There are several reasons some mothers may not be able to breastfeed.
Some are not able to make enough milk. Others might be taking medicines
or have medical problems that prevent the process.
James Cameron is a doctor who treats newborns at Lutheran Children's
Hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He says breast milk is almost like
medicine. It has so many proteins and specialized sugars
in the breast milk that the mom's able to make that help provide
Lucy Baur, lives near Fort Wayne. She breastfed both her children and
always had more milk than they needed. She wanted to donate to the
Indiana Mothers Milk Bank in Indianapolis. But freezing and shipping
milk can be costly. Then, a donor station opened near her home.
Milk donations in the United States work like this. Donors must be
willing to provide almost three liters of breast milk. They freeze the
milk and take it to the station. There, employees warm the milk and mix
it with other mothers' milk. Then, the milk is heated to kill bacteria.
After that, the technicians test samples of all the milk to make sure
it is safe and healthful. The milk is re-frozen and sent to the main
milk bank. The milk bank transports the milk to hospitals to feed
premature or sick babies.
Donors are tested for diseases before any milk is accepted. They are
not permitted to smoke tobacco, use illegal drugs or drink too much
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