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Pittsburgh Milk Bank Big Rise In Demand

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Mid-Atlantic Mother's Milk Bank in Pittsburgh's Strip District is seeing a huge rise in demand for donor breast milk.

If you've never heard of MAMMB, executive director Denise O'Connor said it's like a blood bank but for human milk. As the pandemic continues, she said the need for donor breast milk remains high.

She said they're seeing the biggest increase in demand at neonatal intensive care units. The non-profit organization serves 40 hospitals in several states. About 75 percent of donor breast milk is sent to NICUs and 25 percent goes to outpatient babies who have serious medical issues.

The milk bank has been in Pittsburgh's Strip District for about six years. They distributed a record-high of nearly 300,000 ounces last year.

O'Connor believes the pandemic may be driving some of the current need. She also thinks more people are learning about the milk bank and how it can help babies.

"We are seeing big increase demand in donor milk, and we have been sustained, so compared to this time last year, we have about 25 to 30 percent more demand. We're hearing that a lot of NICUs we serve have really high census right now, so they are caring for a lot of babies. We're also seeing the use of donor milk evolve," said O'Connor.

With the high demand, there is a huge need for more donors. O'Connor said volunteer donor moms are carefully screened and donated milk is tested, pasteurized, and bottled.

Mid-Atlantic Mother's Milk Bank encourages lactating moms who can help to think about donating breast milk. You can learn more on MAMMB's website.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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