BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – There is an urgent call for breastfeeding moms in Baton Rouge.

Ochsner Milk Bank Depot is in need of milk donations for premature babies in the intensive care unit.

Jessica Evins, the Quality Coordinator of Women’s Services at Ochsner says many in the capital area community are unaware of the demand for breast milk and this is why healthcare professionals have been unable to meet their goal of helping premature babies.

Evins said, “Breast milk helps protect the babies from infection. It’s easier to digest. And so, when babies are born really early and they’re really tiny, we try to use that to give them a little advantage.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends breastfeeding infants for the first six months of age. It cites health benefits for both mother and child as well as a heightened bond between the two.

But not all mothers are able to breastfeed.

“When the baby’s born early it’s hard for the mom to get the milk supply to come in as soon as we want it,” Evins explained. “The baby may need more volume than she has, so that’s one of the reasons why we use donor milk. It helps us kind of bridge the gap between where her supply currently is and how much the baby needs.”

A lack of donor milk is creating issues for NICU babies throughout the capital region.

Evins said, “Sometimes it’s feast or famine around here, and then when you need it, you need a lot of it. We’ve never had the volume of donations to cover everything.”

Evins said that education about the lack of breastmilk is vital, as are donations.

“Our ultimate goal is to get back to her being able to feed her baby 100% herself,” she explained. “But we want to be there to support her if she can’t.”

TO DONATE MILK

Anyone interested in donating should call (504) 703-6455 and provide their name, address, phone number, email address, and their baby’s age. The application process includes:

• 15-minute phone interview

• An information packet to complete and return

• Blood screening (the cost is covered by Mother’s Milk Bank)

• Final approval from Mother’s Milk Bank of Louisiana

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.