LANCASTER, Calif. - It’s liquid gold in the eyes of doctors and mothers with fragile babies in newborn intensive care units… donated breast milk.
Much of it comes from women who produce more than they can use, or in the case of Vanessa Apollo, a lost child before birth.
These women have become heroes during the shortage of baby formula, especially those donating to breast milk banks, which cater to the neediest baby population.
"It was a way to help honor my babies' memory and help other parents not have to go through the pain I experience every day," said Apollo.
She donates her milk to Antelope Valley Medical Center, home to the region's only newborn ICU, which care for more than 400 premature or ill newborns annually.
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"In light of the formula shortage, and everything going on, now more than ever it’s important for women to consider breastfeeding their babies and if they can, to donating and helping those in need," stated Angela Alvarez, the couplet care nurse manager at the hospital's Women and Children’s Pavillion.
Those like Dr. Lynne Ellison, a pediatrician at the hospital ,her own baby girls was born prematurely and spent time in the NICU. Her kids were given donated breast milk since she wasn’t initially able to produce enough.
As a doctor, she knows that breast milk is particularly effective in helping fragile newborns fend off infections they are particularly prone to in the ICU.
If you want to find out more about the program at Antelope Valley Medical Center call 661-726-6210. For other areas in LA County visit Breastfeedla.org