LI nursing moms donate extra breast milk amid baby formula shortage
Nursing mothers on Long Island are stepping up to ease the baby formula shortage crisis.
Over 40% of baby formula is out of stock nationwide, and parents are faced with empty shelves unsure of where to turn.
"I think that's most moms' biggest fear--is not being able to provide for their babies," says Diana Palamar, of Wheatley Heights.
Palamar is one of thousands of lactating parents across the state who are donating their extra breast milk to the New York Milk Bank for distribution to babies in needs.
The New York Milk Bank in Valhalla collects milk from mothers, tests it and pasteurizes it before distributing it.
There are five milk depots on Long Island where donors can drop off their breast milk for overnight shipment to the New York Milk Bank.
Palamar oversees a milk depot in Greenlawn. Another milk depot operates out of South Shore Mail Room in Copiague.
The owner of that location, Donna Kimick, is also a lactation consultant and says donors are vetted by the New York Milk Bank before their milk is accepted.
"They have to be screened to make sure their milk is safe," Kimick says. "There's blood work done, all that kind of stuff. They don't just take milk from anybody off the street."
The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly advises against receiving breast milk from unknown sources such as social media groups where few precautions are taken to ensure the purity of the milk.
Experts say milk from a certified milk bank is safer.
"They pasteurize the breast milk so it can't transmit disease. They screen all donors who donate the milk there so they're screening for diseases," says pediatrician Dr. Eve Meltzer-Krief
Palamar is getting ready to ship 300 ounces of her breast milk, saying she is willing to donate more if needed.
"I feel like we have an obligation to help where we can," Palamar says.
Anyone who wants more information about the New York Milk Bank can go to their website.