Premature infants need every advantage they can get to survive and thrive.
And that includes what experts agree is the best food possible: their mother’s breast milk.
But some mothers cannot supply enough of what these tiniest of babies so badly need.
“We refer to it as liquid gold, because we never had a lot of it,” said Michelle Mabry, the mother of premature twins.
Michelle could not make enough milk herself, so she joined the first milk donor bank established for premature babies in Illinois.
It supplies milk from donors like Svetlana Borisova, who had passed a health screening test, then regularly sent her extra breast milk to be processed in Indiana , after which it was returned to hospitals like Advocate Lutheran General in Park Ridge.
“I can’t throw it away,” said Borisova. “because there are so many babies that can benefit from it. I have a special feeling of pride that I’m able to help other little babies will grow healthy like mine.”
In fact lactation expert Summer Cassidy says “there’s some research that infants fed human milk leave the hospital two weeks earlier than their formula fed counterparts.”
And that’s in part because they are less likely to develop infections and potentially deadly bowel inflammations.
The Mabry twins, now six months old, have checked out perfectly say their parents… and they credit the breast milk they were fed.