Water crisis in Flint, Michigan
By now, everyone has heard about the terrible water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Residents have been unknowingly exposed to high levels of lead in the drinking water. This could have serious implications for pregnant and lactating women and children. The government has earmarked money to help deal with this crisis. It is imperative that some of this funding go towards helping women obtain donor human milk for their babies.
In a statement released by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), Kiddada Green, Founding Executive Director of Black Mother’s Breastfeeding Association, stated: “A portion of of the state-proposed $15 million…to deal with the Flint water crisis should be immediately released to support Flint’s youngest and most vulnerable infants. We must be assured that pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are no longer victimized. Forcing mothers to compromise the health benefits associated with exclusive breastfeeding for the use of infant formula when safe donor milk is available here in Michigan should be unlawful.”
For families who do not breastfeed, provisions to provide ready-to-feed formula are in place. This formula is safer because it does not have to be mixed with water. However, if a mother wants to provide her baby exclusively with human milk, she should have that option. HMBANA milk banks can do that, and government funding should be provided for it.
What you can do
In the meantime, what can you do to help? If you are lactating, consider donating milk to a HMBANA milk bank near you. The milk bank at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo is the main supplier of Miracle Milk® in Michigan. For 10 years, the HMBANA-affiliated Bronson Mother’s Milk Bank has worked to get pasteurized donor human milk to vulnerable infants. They pledged to help Flint mothers provide human milk for their babies until the lead has been removed from their milk supply.
To read more from HMBANA on this topic, check out their press release.