Houston hospital now collecting donated breast milk

Grocery and drug stores continue to face a baby formula shortage, and although some new mothers have turned to breast milk, it often takes several days to initially produce.

To help out, Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has teamed up with the Mothers' Milk Bank of Austin to provide breast milk for mothers whose infants cannot get much-needed nutrients from their own moms.

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First, breast milk must be contributed, so the northwest Houston hospital will give lactating mothers a safe location to drop off breast milk donations.

Tammy Sullivan, manager of the hospital's newborn intensive care unit, says they collect the donated breast milk from donors who have been vetted through interviews, a blood draw, and medical records to ensure the milk is safe. Mothers with breastfeeding babies under a year old are eligible to be screened at no charge.

Donated milk is then processed and pasteurized by the milk bank, frozen, and distributed to where it's needed - sometimes right back to Houston Methodist Willowbrook.

The nonprofit has been in operation for 21 years and is one of the largest suppliers of donor milk, distributing to hospitals in 22 states. For more information on donating, call 512-494-0800 or see the Mother's' Milk Bank of Austin website.

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