Demand for Breast Milk Donations Rises During Formula Shortage Crisis


The baby formula shortage across the nation has become concerning to many parents.

Mothers like Blanca Torres, who has a 3-month-old girl named Estella, have been struggling to feed their babies. Torres was unable to produce milk right away and gave birth at the beginning of the formula shortage.

The Mothers’ Milk Bank of Austin (MMBA), is a nonprofit organization that provides mothers in need with donated breast milk. The MMBA is how Torres was able to feed Estella her first meal in the hospital.

Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has now teamed up with the MMBA to provide donated breast milk for infants in need.

The demand for donated breast milk, especially in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), is at an all-time high.

The hospital, located in northwest Houston, provides lactating mothers a safe location to donate their breast milk. Nurses then collect the milk from donors who have passed multiple screenings and tests.

Mothers who are breastfeeding babies under 1-year-old are eligible to be screened at no charge.

“They bring their milk to the hospital, and then a courier comes and picks it up and takes it to the MMBA, and they process it,” Tammy Sullivan, the NICU manager said. ” We’re able to order it back. They send it through FedEx. It’s completely frozen, and we have a special freezer that we keep in it keeps it extra cold and ready to use when we need it.”

Houston Methodist Willowbrook delivers around 4,000 babies a year. Roughly 400 babies are treated in the NICU every year.

The breast milk that is given out is processed to meet the specific needs of fragile and sick babies.

Over 7.5 million ounces have been donated since 1999. 800,000 ounces were sent to babies in 2020.

Mother’s Milk Bank of Austin is searching for lactating mothers to donate their breast milk during this difficult time.


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