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Donating breast milk

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Breast milk can be a precious commodity and in some cases nursing moms have more than they can use so they are sending it to milk banks that in turn make sure it's safe and then send it on to newborns who desperately need it.

After the birth of Amy Johnson's daughter she started pumping a little extra every day to stock up on breast milk so her daughter would have enough when she returned to work. By the time that day arrived she had a huge stash, more than she needed so she decided to donate it to the Mother's Milk Bank of North Texas, the closest one she could find to Arkansas.

Amy Johnson said, "So what I did was use that milk for her for daycare and the milk I would pump during the week is what I would send to donate and I ended up being able to donate over 1600 ounces."

Donating is easy. The milk bank will ship donors a boxed cooler with a prepaid shipping label. They will even send you containers to put your milk in or if  you  already have a freezer full of bagged milk you just put in the cooler, pack it will dry ice and send it back to the milk bank.

The milk bank then pasteurizes the donation and ships it to hospitals in Texas and Arkansas like the NICU at UAMS and Arkansas Children's Hospital.  In some cases the milk is also sent directly to homes to baby's who have been given a prescription for breast milk.

Johnson said, "I just felt like the mission of the milk bank was something I felt strongly about it. These are milk banks providing milk to babies who are very sick and in some cases their lives depend on the milk  and just felt good knowing my milk would go to help a baby who was really in need."

Dozens of Arkansas mothers like Amy have donated their precious supply in many cases helping save the lives of not just one but several babies.

Johnson said, "It's like donating blood. You are giving the gift of life to a baby in need. That milk, for someone who was has worked very hard to make breastfeeding successful and who has worked very hard to pump that milk it's just good to see that milk go to someone who needs it. "

Donor moms are not paid for their breast milk but they are reimbursed for the cost of dry ice and given a pre-paid shipping label. A blood test is required to make sure the donor doesn't have a disease that can be passed on through breast milk but the test is paid for by the milk so donors don't have to pay a dime.

The Mother's Milk Bank of North Texas is hoping to have a drop off location in Little Rock in the near future to make it easier for Arkansas moms to donate.

You can find out more information about donating by clicking here.