Research has shown that breastfeeding your newborn is the best way to help a child build a strong immune system.
But many new moms struggle to produce enough milk for their newborns.
As KCAU9 reporter Rebecca Pryor recently found out, some mothers are partnering with The Milk Bank of Iowa, donating their own breast milk for babies that desperately need it.
“For a lot of women, becoming a new mom is a challenge in itself. But for Rachele Randall, her early delivery was a challenge she never expected. “He was born 5 weeks premature. He was transferred to the NICU in Sioux City the night he was born,” said Rachele.
Rachel’s doctors gave her only a matter of hours to prepare for her mandatory C section. Surgery that would require a full 2 days recovery. Meaning her baby would be without her breast milk until she was well. Something doctors consider to be ‘liquid gold’ for newborns.
“Human milk has special properties to it that offer special protection against infection and some of those very premature babies are very susceptible to things that aren’t so good for them that can make them much sicker,” said local physician Tracey Terry.
Thankfully, for moms like Rachel, there’s a way for their babies to still get breast milk right after birth. It’s through a program called, Iowa’s Milk Bank.
“They collect donor milk from moms who have extra milk to share, pasteurize and process it to places that request donor milk like the NICUs. They send that milk out so those moms that don’t have enough milk for their own babies or are not able to breastfeed, then those babies have that milk that they need so desperately,” added Dr. Terry.
The milk bank is located in Iowa City, but there are collection sites around the state for mothers to drop their milk donations. For new mom and Nurse, Amanda her line of work is the reason she donates..
“As a nurse I see those babies born premature or require respiratory support and needing to go to Saint Luke’s or Omaha and I know that those moms are unable to provide breast milk the first couple days after birth and I’ve been blessed with the gift of extra milk and yeah I just like to share,” said Amanda.
Sharing a gift that gives mothers like Rachel, one less thing to worry about.
“It was really crucial for us. “I know how beneficial it is for a premature baby to get breast milk if possible. “It kind of took the pressure off of me and it was already a very stressful situation,” said Rachele.
And although Amanda won’t be able to receive a personal thank you from the mothers she’s helped, just being able to give back is reward enough.
“There’s nothing better than breastfeeding your own baby and then also knowing that you’re helping other babies,” said Amanda.