Palm Springs
56° F
Clear
Clear

Hospital Wants Mothers Who Can Donate Breast Milk

By Francinni Zabata, Reporter, francinni.zabata@cbslocal2.com
Published On: Apr 03 2014 09:45:55 PM CDT

Francinni Zabata has the story.

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

A local hospital is seeking mothers who can donate breast milk for premature and critically ill infants, giving these babies a fighting chance to live.
     
One of those babies is Lailah Lara Garcia, born on January 14 at Desert Regional Medical Center, at just 23 weeks. Lailah weighed in at 1 Lb 2 oz and measured a tiny 27 centimeters.

"At first, they were questioning whether or not she'd stay alive and fight for her life. It was just time could tell," Lailah's mother Nikole Garcia said.
 
Called a miracle baby, Lailah now weighs 3 Lbs 12 oz, but still faces several weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit. Her parents say she's a fighter, but are also praising donated breast milk for her amazing development.

Once nurses switched Lailah from formula milk to donated breast milk, her health incredibly improved in just one week.

"We call it "liquid gold," it helps her through everything, brain development, weight gain, just the way she interacts. I feel it's the reason, the breast milk," Garcia said.
     
The American Academy of Pediatrics says there is evidence a mother's breast milk protects against a variety of diseases by strengthening an infant's immune system. That is why the neonatal intensive care unit at Desert Regional Medical Center is partnering with Mother's Milk Bank, a non-profit organization, hoping to collect donated breast milk. That milk can help feed premature and critically ill infants.

"A lot of our moms in our neonatal intensive care are unable to provide enough milk and we know that those babies in particular really need it," Garcia said.

Mother's Milk Bank supplies 103 hospitals in 13 states and is growing every week.

"Our goal, our mission actually is to make sure is that every baby gets the best start in life," said Pauline Sakamoto, Executive Director at

The organization will screen healthy lactating women as potential donors using a specialized clinical review. Once approved and screening of the breast milk is completed, the milk is accepted by the milk bank.

Leilah's parents say they couldn't be more grateful for such a program.

Honestly, we're very very thankful, not just for the moms that are donating, we're thankful for the staff here for giving us all the information that we needed to make our decision, whether or not we wanted to proceed with the donating breast milk," Garcia said.

If you are a mother wanting to donate, you can do so by contacting Mother's Milk Bank at 1-877-375-6645.