The power of milk: A new way for mothers to help out from the comfort of their homes
Sometimes weighing only one or two pounds, premature babies require more than the usual care.
Helping Hands, a nationwide virtual milk bank partnered with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, is currently campaigning in Utah to spread the word about a new way nursing mothers can help serve premature babies from the comfort of their homes for free.
The organization coordinates with nursing mothers who have excess breast milk. After applying and being reviewed for eligibility as donors, mothers will simply collect their excess breast milk and then Helping Hands will arrange for it to be picked up from their homes, at no cost to the mothers. Helping Hands provides help and instructions throughout the process of becoming a donor.
Though it may sound like an unusual form of service, any breast milk women can donate will be used to help premature babies receiving care in neonatal intensive care units. Not only that, but for every ounce of qualified breast milk donated, Helping Hands will donate $1 to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation in support of breast cancer research.
Helping Hands offers a way for women to turn their excess breast milk into a double dose of service.
“You can help those who are having a challenge at the beginning of life and those who are having a challenge later in life,” said Loren Kosmont, communications specialist for Helping Hands.
The breast milk women donate goes to Prolacta Bioscience, the company that operates Helping Hands. Prolacta is the first and only company to create a 100 percent human milk-based milk fortifier, which is used to help babies in NICUs grow healthily in their first stage of life.
Prolacta’s fortifier has been found to reduce the risk of a common premature baby-killing disease (necrotizing enterocolitis) by 77 percent. The fortifier has also been found to decrease the time, and therefore money premature babies and their families need to spend in the NICU.
Prolacta’s fortifier is prescribed by doctors and has so far been used to help over 2,000 premature babies nationwide.
Helping Hands has been campaigning in Utah since September and has already received over 50 applications from mothers wanting to donate their extra breast milk. Kosmont says that Helping Hands was interested in coming to Utah because “Utah is fundamentally a very service-oriented state.”
Any woman interested in donating her breast milk to join Helping Hands’ efforts can apply online in about 15 minutes at www.helpinghandsbank.com. Readers can also find testimonials and other information about Helping Hands on the same website.