YUKON, Okla. (KFOR) – As families scramble to find baby formula, Oklahomans are stepping up to help – even offering to nurse strangers’ babies for them.
Wet nursing is something that dates back centuries and is certainly a generous offer, but doctors are urging caution when it comes to any form of donated milk.
“I think that mommas helping mommas is a really beautiful thing,” said Ashley Wright, a Yukon mom of three.
Wright is on several local parent Facebook groups.
Of course, the national baby formula shortage is a hot topic on those pages right now.
“It just really breaks my heart,” Wright said. “I just couldn’t imagine feeling that way. So that’s why I felt called to say something.”
After seeing another mom offer to nurse babies for families in need, Wright and other women shared the post, offering to do the same.
While it’s a generous offer, experts are urging all families to be careful.
“I think it’s really important to understand that sharing unscreened or unpasteurized milk can carry the risk of carrying certain diseases or substances that can be harmful to the infant,” said Dr. Erynn Bergner, Assistant Medical Director of Nutrition for the NICU, Oklahoma Children’s Hospital, OU Health.
Bergner says purchasing or obtaining milk on the internet can be dangerous.
“It’s coming from a very altruistic place that they have milk to share and I certainly invite them to contact milk banks,” Bergner said. “We’re certainly in need of donors with the formula shortage right now and we would love to talk to those mothers and give them a safe place to donate milk to others.”
Wright says she completely understands these safety concerns and hopes to soon be able to pump and donate.
“I’d like to encourage all women who are able to, to offer the same thing and a lot of women have,” she said.
If you need help obtaining a pump, Bergner encourages you to contact WIC.
She also encourages families to reach out to the Oklahoma Mothers’ Milk Bank or call OU Health’s lactation service at 405-271-MILK.
If you want to reach the 24/7 Oklahoma Breastfeeding Hotline, call 877-271-MILK or text OK2BF to 61222.