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Think Out Loud

Breast Milk Banking

Pete Springer/OPB

Experts say that breast milk is the perfect food for infants. Organizations throughout the Northwest and the world have formed to educate, support and encourage women to nurse their babies for both medical and economic reasons.

But there are some options for those who cannot supply their own breast milk to their babies. Ten breast milk banks exist across North America, where—like a blood bank—donated breast milk is stored and distributed to parents with a doctor’s prescription. The closest breast milk banks to Oregon are in San Jose, Calif., and Denver, Colo.

Northwest Mothers Milk Bank is a nonprofit organization recognized by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. The organization is raising money to bring a milk bank to Portland, where donors would be screened. Milk from multiple women would be mixed together and pasteurized. Meanwhile, other parents are finding milk for their babies now, through organizations like Human Milk 4 Human Babies Global Network, which connects people through Facebook.

Would you opt for breast milk over formula for your baby even if it couldn’t come from your own body? What would you want to know about a donor?


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