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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – As the formula shortage continues, more mothers are donating their breast milk to local milk banks, and more parents who cannot find formula are seeking help from those same banks.

The Human Milk Bank Association of North America counts 31 milk banks nationwide, one of those banks is in Alabama. The nonprofit organization typically reserves its milk for babies born prematurely, those who have medical needs that force them to solely drink human milk, and babies whose biological mothers cannot provide it to them.

But, amid the formula shortage, the organization has seen an increase in need. In 2021, the 31 banks dispensed 9.2 million ounces of milk and according to HMBANA executive director, Lindsay Groff, they are currently seeing a 20% increase in demand.

Mothers Milk Bank of Alabama CEO Kristina Habchi told News 19 that milk banks are seeking help from mothers who can donate milk. “Breastfeeding mothers with excess pumped and frozen milk can potentially help during the formula shortage by donating breastmilk to their local milk bank after appropriate screening.”

Though, Habchi added that it is crucial for those in need of milk to go to a milk bank to ensure what they receive is safe for the baby. “We do warn against informal milk sharing as it does not provide the
same safety guarantees and the possibility of serious adverse consequences cannot be ruled out,” Habchi shared.

Anyone interested in donating milk can learn more about the qualifications and process here.