Madera County group collects breast milk for infants in need

The collection event ends November 17, but the coalition encourages those interested to donate to the bank after the event ends.

Amanda Aguilar Image
Thursday, November 10, 2022
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A Madera County group is taking action to make sure babies in the Valley are healthy and well-fed.

MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Madera County group is taking action to make sure babies in the Valley are healthy and well-fed.

With baby formula shortages and recalls, some parents worry about how they'll feed their infants.

This is what motivated Patty Almanza to start donating her extra breast milk.

"I felt the need to help other moms that, you know, have their babies in the NICU and maybe have the need for donor breast milk to help their babies get better," she said.

Almanza also serves on Madera County's Breastfeeding Coalition, which is in the middle of its first Virtual Milk Collection. Anyone can donate fresh or frozen milk up to nine months from the day it was pumped.

It then goes to Mother's Milk Bank in San Jose, which serves the Central Valley.

Almanza spoke from experience, saying it's an easy process.

"They sent me the forms that I needed to complete, and I emailed them right back. Then there was another form for my OB to complete, and they assisted me in connecting with my OB and getting that form back from him," Almanza explained. "Then they paid for me to go get my lab work, just to make sure that I'm good and healthy to do this process. After that, I was approved. Once I was ready to request a freezer, they sent a freezer out to my home so I can fill it with my breast milk."

The donated breast milk will help babies in need, including in the NICU.

Coalition member Sylvia Stratford is a public health nurse for Madera County. She said this is a way to improve access to the nutrition that helps newborns thrive.

"We also are really aware that there are many disparities. Those disparities are just incredibly important," she said. "Every infant who needs donor milk should be able to have donor milk."

The coalition has also been working to raise awareness on breastfeeding benefits and making efforts to support mothers.

"We have been establishing lactation rooms," said Maribel Gonzalez. "Equipped them with all the elements needed for a lactation room space to be comfortable and welcoming for the moms to breastfeed."

The milk collection event ends November 17, but the coalition encourages those interested to donate to the bank even after the event ends.

For more information on donating or receiving breast milk, visit the Mother's Milk Bank 'Donate Milk' webpage or 'Get Milk' webpage.

Stay up to date with the breastfeeding coalition by following its Facebook page.