LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Parents across the country are struggling to find formula to feed their babies. Now, some in Arkansas are turning to methods not recommended by doctors.
Some moms are spending hours going from store to store trying to find even just one or two cans of formula. That’s why more parents are turning to Facebook groups like “Human milk for human babies” for help. It’s a page where mother can share their own breast milk with others in their community.
This is something not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics or the FDA. Both discourage sharing breast milk outside of recommended sources because of the risk of contamination.
Instead, they recommend going through milk banks that do donor screenings and pasteurization. However, the closest milk bank is in northwest Arkansas and some moms say the need is more immediate.
Somer Mahmoud, a mom using the group, said she had about 18 bags that her child was not going to drink. She decided to post on the page and had moms reaching out looking for any kind of help they could get.
“Immediately within 30 minutes there were probably seven or eight moms that contacted me, can I please have your milk, can I please have one bag, one bag will help, two bags or can we split it,” Mahmoud said.
Another mother, Lauren Williams, said her daughter only drinks breast milk once a day but she continues to pump because of the shortage. She wants to help other moms any way that she can.
“It’s mind blowing that we’re even having this issue right now and so just being able to do this makes me so happy,” Williams said. “I wish I had a crazy amount to give and just donate it to everybody but unfortunately I just do what I can and just help where I’m able to.”
The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine has guidelines for parents considering this option. They say it is critical for parents to screen anyone they plan on getting milk from. That includes asking if the donor is taking any medications, whether they’ve been screened for conditions like HIV or Hepatitis B and whether they drink or use marijuana.
No matter what moms decide, doctors say it is always important to talk to their pediatricians first.