Local woman trying to help offset formula shortage through breastmilk donations

Published: May. 14, 2022 at 10:50 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - An Eastern Iowa mother has been trying to help other moms who have been struggling to find baby formula among a nationwide formula shortage.

In Iowa, the formula’s out-of-stock rate was more than 50%. That’s within the top six worst in the nation.

Andrea Heidenreich of Dubuque made her last breast milk donation to the Mother’s Milk Bank of Iowa on Saturday, bringing her to a total of 45 gallons of breast milk donated.

“Sometimes women can overproduce breastmilk, and I was one of those overproducers,” Heidenreich said. “We just decided we could help other parents and babies along the way.”

Heidenreich didn’t want the milk to go to waste, especially after seeing a formula shortage and moms struggling to find a way to feed their babies.

“There are parents that are very stressed out trying to find formula to feed their babies and for moms who aren’t able to breastfeed,” Heidenreich said. “It’s a struggle of wondering where that’s going to come from.”

The Mother’s Milk Bank of Iowa said Heidenreich wasn’t alone in stepping up.

“We’re experiencing an increase in milk donors who mention the formula shortage and their desire to help,” said a spokesperson for that organization. “They are remarkable and generous women.”

“If moms have extra breast milk, and feel they can donate it, there is a real need right now,” she said.

A feeling that Heidenreich knew firsthand after the birth of her son Oliver.

“It was very emotional not being able to feed him,” Heidenreich said. “We worked with a lactation specialist at Mercy.”

Saturday’s donation ends Heidenreich’s breastfeeding journey, one that started stressfully but ended up helping several mothers in the end.

“I think for any woman when they’re done breastfeeding, it’s emotional,” Heidenreich said. “I just know we can help other babies and moms along the way.”

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