Mothers share bond over donated breast milk; pre-term supplies in demand at Colorado milk bank

DENVER - It's an option that more moms are considering: getting donated breast milk, or in some cases, being a donor themselves.

There's a special need for preterm breast milk and that demand has changed the perspectives of two moms who have never met.

Michelle Davis, a mother of three, said she had more than enough milk for her third child, Leah.

"She was born the first week of January at 32 1/2 weeks of gestation and was only eating a fraction," said Davis.

Davis said to establish her supply she was pumping seven times a day -- enough to fill a freezer.

"I was getting anywhere from 6 to 10 ounces," said Davis. "I had an incredible amount of milk and I wanted to give it to families that would need it."

And they do.

At Mothers' Milk Bank, a spokeswoman said they're always accepting full-term milk. But when it comes to preterm, the kind Davis has been saving, the supply is short.

On the day 7NEWS Reporter Christine Chang inquired, the bank said it had just two bottles of preterm milk available.

"The difference is a higher protein count and also some of the micro-nutrients like magnesium and calcium -- important nutrients for preterm infants," said Laraine Lockhart-Borman, manager of the Mother's Milk Bank.

While most preterm babies can thrive from special infant formula, some can't.

Christina Meadows said her son was expected on May 4, but was born preterm in January at 24 weeks.

"I was not prepared for any of this -- no birthing classes. I didn't get to any of those points. I just started showing really," said Meadows.

She said the main concern was the development of her son's lungs.

Meadows said at first she was hesitant about donated breast milk. But after some time with it, her opinion changed.

"It was huge change when he started getting the milk. He just started doing so much better," said Meadows.

Despite the fact that Davis and Meadows have never met, they say there's a special bond between mothers that will stay with them forever.

"Why not help other families, moms, and babies," said Davis.

Davis said the process to donate to the Milk Bank was easy, and explained in detail on its website.

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