By Elisse Ramey
FLINT, Michigan (WNEM) — A mother who has a great supply of breast milk has been helping other mothers make it through the baby formula shortage by donating 1,000 ounces (and counting) through a mid-Michigan community-based organization.
Shonte’ Terhune-Smith connected the Flint mom with another mom in Lapeer to encourage human to human milk sharing safely.
“The fact that there are moms who are willing to unite and really not shame each other — like it’s not about breastfeeding versus formula feeding — it’s really about us coming together for these babies to thrive,” Terhune-Smith said.
She wants to empower women and promote community milk sharing.
“That’s what we’ve done for thousands of years,” Terhune-Smith said.
Terhune-Smith founded You Overcoming Lactation Obstacles, or YOLO, to help mothers on their breastfeeding journey.
“We know that this is impacting black and brown families at a tremendous [rate]. They’re being impacted very hard right now. Milk banks aren’t affordable to the populations that this is really hitting,” she said. “If you know you have this three to four-month-old baby and your baby is drinking three to four ounces possibly a feeding, that’s hard to afford.”
The mother who shared 1,000 ounces of breast milk captured the large donation in a photo.
“We don’t want moms diluting formula trying to stretch it. We don’t want you making homemade formula recipes that you don’t know how it’s going to impact the overall health of your babies. There are safe options.”
Children who require specialty formula have been hospitalized as reported this week in Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina. Terhune-Smith, who is also a lactation consultant, says she’s been hearing from moms who want to re-lactate. She invites parents to reach out for help on how to do that. In addition to connecting mothers with donors, she is also providing formula and teaching women how to properly screen donors for milk.
“Our goal should be for us to unite for our babies,” she said.
You can reach out to YOLO here: facebook.com/yolobreastfeedingsuccess
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