Utah breast milk bank reaches 1 ton milestone

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Nursing women in Utah have donated more than a ton of breast milk to a nonprofit milk bank since the University of Utah opened a donation center earlier this year.The center tells The Salt Lake Tribune that since opening in February, more than 2,300 pounds of milk has been collected from roughly 30 women.”It’s not like this is hundreds of people that are contributing a little bit. We tend to have women who have a whole lot and they’re donating their whole freezer stash,” said center co-director Christy Porucznik.She said the milk would be sent to the Mothers’ Milk Bank in Denver which reported a slowdown in donations this summer, forcing the facility to limit its supply to just premature babies in intensive care units.In August, the Denver bank reported that its supply was down to critical levels.Manager Laraine Lockhart-Borman has said the milk is provided to babies who are allergic to formula or have certain illnesses and whose mothers are unable to produce breast milk. For premature babies, the breast milk is like medicine that helps prevent infections.And there is never enough, said Jean Drulis, president of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, which accredits 11 nonprofit milk banks in Canada and United States.”We’re very much in need of milk donors nationwide to keep up with the growing demand,” Drulis said.Last year, she said, about 3,000 women donated 112,500 pounds of milk to banks in the association.Porucznik said many of Utah’s donors are mothers who just pump more than they need, and since human milk changes composition to match an infant’s age, the mothers don’t keep the extra supplies, but it can be used by others.All donors, she said, are screened and tested to ensure they are healthy. The milk is then pasteurized to kill any viruses while still maintaining its immune properties and nutrition.

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