Little Rock, Ark.-A mother from Harrison, Arkansas looks for donors to provide breast milk for her son, Levi, upon his imminent release from Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
For the past four months, Rachel Goettl and her husband have been reliant upon ACH to provide care for Levi. He was born in February with hypoplastic heart syndrome, meaning that “half of his heart didn’t develop all the way, so technically he has half of a heart,” explained Goettl.
Among other things, that care has included breast milk that the hospital receives from a donor bank in Texas. Given Levi’s condition, his mother explained breast milk is a necessity, not a simple preference over formula. “We want to keep him healthy, and he has had so many other complications with his heart issue that we don’t need anymore complications like the risk of neck which formula can give him.”
But, as the days inch closer toward Levi’s discharge, Rachel has taken to Facebook in search of mothers that are able to donate milk for her son, as there are no donor banks in Arkansas– the nearest being in Memphis, Tennessee. The hospital is unable to provide the family milk from their bank once Levi leaves. “Once we are discharged, we are usually put on formula, or you have to pay for donor milk from milk banks which cost quite a bit more money than we can afford.”
Goettl said throughout this process she has found there are a lot of moms just like her in need of milk. Doctors urge mothers to be careful when accepting milk straight from other mothers. There are a lot of things you need to be cautious of.