Local mom helping others scrambling to find baby formula

 Bottle-fed baby
Bottle-fed baby (KFYR)
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 5:43 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Parents across the Valley are banding together in an effort to make sure babies and young children are properly getting fed, with many turning to social media looking for alternative options while the formula shortage continues to rage on across the country.

For weeks Paige Kleepsie, both a new mom and NICU nurse, has been horrified seeing posts on social media showing how to supplement the formula shortage with home remedies and recipes, and it’s prompted her to take helping parents in the community into her own hands.

“If I was ever worried about being able to feed my baby, I would hope that someone would help me. That’s terrifying to be coming up with random things that I can put in a bottle just so he can eat,” Kleepsie said.

Kleepsie has been freezing her extra breast milk for months, which currently has two freezers in her home filled to the brim. She says she originally didn’t know what she was going to do with the leftovers when she started breast feeding months ago, but has since taken to Facebook in hopes of donating to families impacted by the formula shortage.

“It’s pretty scary walking through the Target and Walmart aisles realizing there’s literally no milk,” she said. “This need is so scary and so sad. There’s way, way, way more people that need my milk than I have.”

Experts say this type of milk sharing has been going on since the beginning of time, but they urge parents to know your source as best you can. They say testing your donated milk yourself isn’t really an option.

“This can be a good resource; you just have to be careful and ask some questions,” Director of Sanford Health’s Family Birth Center Jackee Haak said.

Haak says questions like what medications the mother is on, any drug or alcohol use they have, as well as any diseases are the important points.

She says breast milk can also be donated to various milk sharing programs in the country, which then must be tested and pasteurized. That donated milk can be prescribed to parents by a doctor, however, Haak says that milk is first reserved for babies with medical needs and those in the NICU.

“So, if there is a limit to how much milk they have, they’re going to send it to hospitals before they would send it to anyone else,” she explained. Haak also says milk from donation banks is usually quite expensive as well.

Kleepsie says has yet to have anyone pick up any of her extra breast milk, and adds she hopes sharing her story inspires other moms to donate so everyone can get on the other side of the formula shortage successfully.

“Even just a grocery bag full of milk; Somebody can stash it in their freezer and then they have that little bit of milk until they figure something else out,” Kleepsie said.

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