An Urgent Notice from the Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin
Dear Friend of the Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin,
Like so many other organizations, businesses, and individuals, the Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin continues monitoring the rapidly escalating US experience of SARS-CoV-2, and the respiratory illness it causes, COVID-19. We are comforted by the US Food and Drug Administration’s statements on the safety of food and food packaging and pleased to note that the CDC continues supporting breastfeeding, even in cases of exposure or diagnosis.
Milk banks are an essential service, so we continue working through the pandemic, and understand that the highest priority action at this point is to increase donor screening and pasteurization activities to ensure that our fragile babies continue to access life-saving milk. With the knowledge that the peak of this pandemic is still weeks or months away, it is paramount to procure and process milk as rapidly as possible to safeguard our supply.
MMBA is experiencing increased demand for donor human milk as women find it more difficult to take their own milk to the NICUs. We bumped up our social media messaging and paid facebook ads and are seeing an upsurge in women exploring becoming milk donors, but some are withdrawing their inquiries when they learn that they must go to a lab to have their bloodwork drawn. Similarly, approved donors are afraid to drop off their milk at any depot or the milk bank, and several depots have closed.
Positive things are occurring: most labs are scheduling appointments rather than make women wait with other people in the waiting rooms; and many depots are sending staff out to donors’ cars to pick up their milk, making drop-offs contact-free.
We Need Help
MMBA’s staff, with few exceptions, are working as usual, and often overtime. Morale is high, and we’re supporting each other, but now we need your support. We expect that milk shortages and interruptions in operations will occur across the industry. That means that we need to bring in as much milk as possible now, get it processed, and have it ready for dispensing as needed.
Each of you has a network reachable remotely. Let everyone know that all lactating women with an infant under the age of one year should sign up on our website or call (512-494-0800) to be screened today. Anyone who can drive can sign up to volunteer to pick up milk from approved milk donors by emailing email@example.com. Finally, follow us on facebook, Instagram, and twitter to keep apprised of new needs. Stay safe, maintain social distance, and remember that fragile babies need donor human milk to survive.