WakeMed breast milk bank running critically low
WakeMed Hospital's Mother's Milk Bank offers milk to women who can't nurse their own babies, but only if the needs of premature babies are met first.Posted — Updated
A few years ago, after testing positive for the breast cancer gene BRCA-2, Annabelle's mother, Patricia Sheff, had a double mastectomy.
Now, the supply at the bank is critically low.
“I am turning away people who would like to have milk for their babies,” milk bank coordinator Susan Evans said.
In situations like this, Evans said, she refers many parents to other milk banks in the country. The group also puts out a call to their usual donors, like Holly Tibbo-Valeriote.
“I’m able to nurse, and I know that some moms can’t, so it was my way of giving back,” Tibbo-Valeriote said.
Tibbo-Valeriote’s daughter spent her first days in intensive care. She could nurse her daughter, but had an oversupply of milk that she knew could help other preemies and babies like Annabelle.
“Annabelle has a shot at, you know, just being as healthy as she can be,” Sheff said.
Donors are medically screened, and their milk is carefully homogenized with other donors' milk, pasteurized and stored until needed. They can personally deliver their milk or ship it in packaged coolers.
“Those little babies are so tiny, and the benefits are so huge,” Tibbo-Valeriote said.