Leah Shattuck is Social Media & Public Awareness Coordinator for The Milk Bank. She joined the TMB staff in November 2018.
As a breastfeeding mother and the newest member of The Milk Bank team, I’ve had a lot of questions about the benefits of breast milk and the process of its pasteurization. Some of my own, some from friends and family, and many from media and social media sources. It’s such a unique position to be in during this season of my life, as I’m living through active breastfeeding, and the end product is all around me.
While much of this information is found on themilkbank.org in various places, I figured some “straight-talk” might be helpful on a few of the frequent questions we’ve all had. These are my own (at times rather lengthy!) words and responses, but I share the same viewpoints of The Milk Bank.
I’ve never heard of milk banking before. What’s the big deal?
It’s actually a BIG deal within a growing industry. As more research becomes available, it’s become more apparent how vital breast milk is for babies – but especially premature and sick babies. Hospital NICUs know this well, and 9 times out of 10, hospital staff will administer donor milk to babies in the NICU if the mother cannot provide her own milk for whatever reason. It’s not just that formula is difficult for tiny bodies to digest, but the nutrients found in breast milk can also speed up recovery and length of stay in the hospital.