LI County

Southwest Florida communities are uniting to keep children from starving. The shortage of baby formulas creates problems for new parents. Lee Health has two milk outlets in Fort Myers and Cape Coral.

Due to the constant shortage of infant formula, health officials are urging young mothers to donate breast milk to local dairy banks. Casey Mendiola’s new mother has been doing just that since her baby was 6 months old.

Mendiola says, “That was when I had so much in the freezer that I thought, what do I do with everything?”

Mendiola started searching the internet.

“You can do milk baths,” Mendiola says. “You can make them from soap, you can make milk from lotions, or you can donate, and I thought it was the best way to use my breast milk, which was a donation.”

Mendiola has donated 7,500 ounces to more than 17 different hospitals across Florida. On Tuesday alone, she donated 1,000 ounces to the Healthpark dairy depot. She also had to visit a lactation room where milk is stored before use or dispatch.

And given the current shortage of formula, Lee Health says there has been an increase in calls to either donate milk or need milk.

Mendiola says, “I want to help everyone in different ways because I believe it’s a gift and I want to share it with everyone, not keep it to myself.”

She wants to spread the word and hopes other moms will donate as well.

For more information on how to donate or participate A breast milk bank in Florida click here

According to the Florida Milk Bank brochure, the following steps are for milk donation:

  1. Call the Florida Breast Milk Bank at 407-248-5050
  2. Complete a brief preview of the phone
  3. Fill out the full verification form.
  4. Donate blood for analysis. The cost of all tests is covered by the dairy bank.
  5. Sign the donor consent form. Ask your child’s doctor and pediatrician to sign discharge forms.
  6. Take the milk to the Lee Health dairy.
  7. That’s all. You are worth nothing!

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