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Update on our local baby formula shortage 

Parents across the country are still very concerned about the baby formula shortage crisis, which is showing bleak signs of improving. 

So, what can they do to help ensure their little ones get the food they need?

Pediatricians are receiving numerous calls from parents that they still aren’t able to find their specific formula brand or formula for their babies—it’s not on the shelves. Pediatricians are advising parents to look for a similar brand, it may not be the same brand and try generic.

Richard So, MD, pediatrician for Cleveland Clinic Children’s said it is perfectly safe for parents to buy generic brands of baby formula instead, especially since the ingredients are very similar. The same goes for formulas designed for babies with sensitivities. He said liquid formula is another safe alternative, however it is generally a little more expensive.

He also discourages making homemade formulas, supplementing with cow’s milk or diluting store-bought formula. 

“When parents can’t find it, they’re going to try to stretch out like a store brand formula and maybe diluting it, that’s very dangerous to your baby as well because formulas are very balanced from a micronutrients and electrolytes standpoint,” he explained.

Dr. So said part of the problem is many parents are starting to hoard baby formula. He advises only buying about two weeks’ worth at a time, that way there is enough for others in need.

Source: Cleveland Clinic News Service

The good news . . . increase in breast milk donations means Mother’s Milk Bank of S.C. can offer milk to public during formula shortage 

Families struggling to find infant formula now have option to purchase donor breast milk with pediatrician prescription

May 23, 2022- Thanks to generous donor moms, the Mother’s Milk Bank of South Carolina, developed by the Medical University of South Carolina, can start offering safe breast milk to the public. This is especially important during the nationwide formula shortage. 

The MMBSC supplies safe donor breast milk to NICU babies across South Carolina, including at MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital.

“South Carolina Milk, for South Carolina Babies” 

With support from the South Carolina Neonatal Consortium and the South Carolina Birth Outcomes Initiative, the Medical University of South Carolina has developed the first donor human milk bank in the state. The mission of the Mother’s Milk Bank of S.C. is to promote the Health of South Carolina Babies by Providing Access to Safe, Pasteurized Donor Human Milk.

SC breastfeeding mothers with surplus milk supply are invited to become MMBSC milk donors to provide pasteurized milk to SC infants for whom mother’s milk supply is limited. The milk bank initially will provide milk to all SC hospitalized very low birth weight infants.

The MMBSC is an accredited milk bank by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. 

In order to protect our fragile population, donated milk goes through an extensive process prior to being shipped. Find out what our milk goes through.

Donation: Mothers drop off milk at various depot sites throughout the state. Milk is then transferred to our lab at The Mother’s Milk Bank of South Carolina.

Cleaning: Everything in the pasteurization room is cleaned every day, multiple times a day to avoid contamination. Procedures ensure lab is in accordance with HMBANA guidelines.

Pouring: After milk is thawed, mom’s milk is pooled together with other milk and becomes a ‘batch’.

Bottling: Milk is poured into BPA-free bottles that are tamper-evident for pasteurization.

Pasteurizing: Milk is heated to 62.5°C for 30 minutes. This process kills bacteria that could be harmful to infants, BUT retains most of the beneficial components of mothers milk! 

Bacteria Testing: A culture of milk is taken to the lab to verify it is free of bacteria.

Freezing: The milk is stored in a deep freeze until a hospital request arrives!

You are likely to qualify as a donor if:

You are generally healthy

You do not take medications or herbal supplements on a regular basis (with exceptions)

You do not smoke

You are willing to undergo a blood test

You are able to arrange for transportation of your milk to a depot (drop-off site)

If your milk could be delivered to a baby within one year of pump date

You are not eligible to donate milk if:

You have a positive blood test result for HIV, HTLV, Hepatitis B or C, or Syphilis

You or your sexual partner is at risk for HIV

You use illegal drugs

You smoke or use tobacco products including nicotine patches or nicotine gum

You have received an organ transplant, tissue transplant, or a blood transfusion in the last four months

You regularly consume more than two alcoholic drinks per day

Between 1980-1996, you were in the United Kingdom for more than 3 months 

Three Easy Steps to Becoming a Milk Donor!

  1. Complete a 10-15 minute phone screening.
  2. Complete and return an informational packet; this will include a form for you and your baby’s doctor to fill out.
  3. Have a complimentary blood test done at LabCorp*.

Be sure to do the phone screening BEFORE you go for the test. 

Collect, Store, and Drop Off Your Milk!

We are only able to accept milk for donation that is stored in single-use bags or bottles.

Always wash your hands before expressing or handling your milk

All pump parts that come into contact with skin should be removed and cleaned on a regular basis

Milk should be refrigerated within 30 minutes of pumping

Milk can be kept in the refrigerator no more than 96 hours before being frozen. You can add expressed milk into the same bag throughout the day, as long as the bag is consistently refrigerated and then frozen within 24 hours

Wait a minimum of 6 hours (for one drink) and 12 hours (for more than one drink) before pumping if you consumed an alcoholic beverage

Labeling the Milk

All bags should be labeled with the following:

Donor ID Number

Last Name

Pump Date 

Pumping Powerful Milk

As you breastfeed and the breast empties, the milk goes from being thin, lower-calorie ‘foremilk’ to thick, higher-calorie ‘hindmilk’. Although foremilk is thin, it contains critical antibodies. The hindmilk is calorie-rich and is incredibly beneficial for low birth weight babies to gain weight! Please be sure to include foremilk and hindmilk so the babies receiving the milk can grow. 

Milk Storing

Store milk in freezer until you are ready to donate

The best practice is if your donation reaches the Milk Bank freezers by 3 months after the earliest date of pumping (if milk is stored in a deep freezer within 6 months is fine). If you have milk older than 3 months, please contact the milk bank to discuss whether you should donate this milk. 

Remember to refrigerate or freeze your milk within 30 minutes of pumping.

You may refrigerate your milk for up to 96 hours before freezing

Check freezer temperatures regularly

Milk must be pumped within the first year postpartum

Do not scald milk that you plan to donate

Need more milk storage bags? 

Contact us at scmilkbank@musc.edu or 843-792-5415.

Dropping Off Your Milk

To find a depot site near you, please contact us a scmilkbank@musc.edu or 843-792-5415.

Donor Screening Getting Your Blood Test

In order to provide the safest milk possible for preterm and critically ill babies, we require all donor moms to complete a blood test to screen for harmful viruses. The Mother’s Milk Bank of South Carolina will cover the cost of these tests. All tests will be completed at LabCorp. In order to complete your file and be approved for donation, we will need your completed informational packet, lab work, and health forms from your healthcare provider. The approval process can take anywhere from one to four weeks.

The lab will test for:

HIV I & II

RPR (syphilis)

HTLV I & II (Human T-Lymphotrophic Virus)

Hepatitis B (HbsAg)

Hepatitis C (HCV)

Before taking the blood test, please be sure to complete your initial phone screening and obtain your Donor ID number.

Find your nearest LabCorp: https://www.labcorp.com/wps/portal/findalab

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